I think it was the headline that first grabbed my attention: “Accused Says He Was Just Milking a Goat”. Yes, upon further consideration, it was certainly that headline which caught my eye. But the story out of Tacoma, Washington was not just another sordid tale of Animal Husbandry. It all began on May 8th 2007 when a shocked female tour guide spotted 63 year old Arthur Lawton having his way with the aforementioned ungulate in a barn at Eatonville Pioneer Farm Museum, where he used to work. But at his arraignment on August 9th , Lawton insisted the witness was mistaken and he was just milking the goat, as opposed to the goat milking him. So it is now a classic case of he said/she chewed her cud. But there was more.
There was the October 2006 arrest of a 26 year old Spanaway, Washington man, allegedly captured by a cell phone camera, engage in intercourse with a four year old pit bull named Sara. But in May a jury acquitted Patrick McPhail, even though the deputy prosecutor Brian Leech said he still felt “…the facts were more than sufficient to merit conviction.” The problem was the “facts” had come from Jesika McPhail, the defendant’s wife, and the jury didn’t believe her canine version of the Rape of the Sabine Women, in part because the alleged cell phone pictures never made it into court, and in their absence the jury thought it more likely a wife would hate her husband enough to file a false police report than that a man would risk having sex with a pit bull. If so, they may have been mistaken, based on what has been labeled ‘The Great Enumclaw Colon-al Mystery.’
This Great Mystery (as if why humans would seek to engage in intimate relations with another species was not mystery enough) began on July 2nd of 2005 when a man drove up to the emergency entrance of the Enumclaw Community Hospital, seeking help for a companion. After medics rolled the unconscious companion into the ER they discovered he was not unconscious, he was dead. By this time the unknown Good Samaritan had vanished. The deceased was identified by his driver’s license as a 45 year old Seattle resident, and an autopsy confirmed what the E.R. docs suspected. He had died of acute peritonitis caused by a perforated colon - an extensively perforated colon. Conversations with relatives indicated the only connection the deceased had with Enumclaw was that he was boarding two thoroughbred stallions with “friends” at a farm near there.
The police executed a search warrant at the 40 acre farm (above) and found the stallions, as well as other horses, dogs, chickens, sheep and goats. And they also found video tapes showing several men having intercourse the four-footed studs. A cursory search of Internet chat rooms found that the farm was a well known location for bestiality and zoophilia amongst excessive animal lovers. However, none of the horses (or the any of the other animals on the farm) seemed to have been physically harmed, and so the story almost ended there because in 2005 having sex with animals was not a felony in Washington State.
Well, now it is. The Humane Society got into the act and Susan Michaels, a local animal activist, declared war on the “cruelty” of all this animal/human sexual activity, which she perceives is going on. “It’s not natural for animals to do this,” she said. Evidently Susan has never had her leg “humped” by a friend’s dog, or been sprayed by an amorous Tomcat.
But having grown up in farm country I can testify (under oath if need be) to having seen a five legged calf – a young bull standing in a stream with his “excited member” dangling into the cool water . And when that doesn’t cool things off a young bovine Othello has been known to attempt to mount unsuspecting horses, trees, fence posts, tractors, farmers and other assorted animate and inanimate objects. I guess a cow or pig being used for sex is more offensive than using them for food. But while a farmer might be disturbed when coated in bovine sperm, I’m not sure I would describe him as having been “sexually molested”.
It was the raid on the "Equus Farm" which inspired Washington State Sen. Pam Roach, (R-Auburn) to draft legislation making bestiality illegal in Washington State. She said, "This is just disgusting." And, yes, of course it is. Disgusting. But arresting a human for animal sexual cruelty is as foolish as arresting the horse for homicide when they don’t stop after the human says, “Please don't step on my head, that hurts.” Forgive me for mounting my libertarian high horse here but I find this application of Victorian morality to the animal kingdom to be a great big pain in the fetlock.
The few scientific studies in this field suggest that something around 8% of humans think about, fantasize about or obsess about zoosexual activity. And how many of those are actually practicing animal husbandry is anybody’s guess - if anybody should wish to guess. Good Lord, I find it a repellent idea, but than I also find supply-side economics repellent.. But both of those are a human problem, meaning a problem with humans. The idea that the animals are offended by or traumatized by sex with humans in some way is best described as absurd, and treating it as animal abuse leads to some pretty stupid problems.
Such as.....In July of 2007 a Dutch farmer called the police when he caught a man engaging in sex with his sheep, but the case was thrown out because the sheep could not testify she was not a willing participant. On the other hand, Yorkshire, England, recently, witnesses observed a young man dressed only in black briefs “molesting” three rare English long horned cows, but he “ran off” when the witnesses shouted at him. The farmer, Richard Parish, didn’t seem to worried about his traumatized cows. He said, “English longhorns are lovely animals, but not that lovely." And on this subject, I say, usually the law is just beating a dead horse.
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