This report comes just days after lawmakers propose an anti-cruelty bill that includes a national prohibition on bestiality
More than a few times in three decades of animal advocacy, I’ve learned about extreme practices toward animals and wondered how people could be so deadened to the suffering of animals or so diabolical that they could even concoct activities so bizarre and wicked.
Things like canned hunts, where trophy hunters kill animals in pig pens.
Or horse soring, where trainers injure the feet of horses, sometimes in particularly gruesome ways, to cause them to throw their legs up in competition and win ribbons.
Or Japanese commercial whaling, which involves killing the biggest mammals on the planet with exploding harpoons, even though there’s no real market for whale meat, oil, or any other product of these massive creatures.
While that kind of behavior is morally disorienting and discomfiting because of its savagery, there’s another type of animal exploitation that I learned about in recent years that is jarring in a different way.
There’s one website, beastforum.com, that is reported to have a million registered users. People who subject animals to sexual acts — some very harmful to the animals ‚— find co-conspirators on these sites and schedule meet ups where they engage in sex acts with animals.
The level of participation on these sites screams to us that the problem is bigger than we can even imagine.
But there’s a new flash. A news website reported that BeastForum and other associated web sites are, we’re told, shutting down. Apparently a supermoderator on the site posted this:
“Dear Beastforum.com and Tubesite members. It is with great sadness that we have decided to close down Beastforum.com, Petsex.com, Gaybeast.com, AnimalFlix.com, Barnlove.com and associated sites. It is no longer feasible to operate and run the sites. The site will be taken offline the 15th of February 2019. Thank you all for the support you have provided during the last 17 years.”
It’s head-spinning to even contemplate that such sites exist. Let’s hope the news of these dark sites going dark is accurate. I am skeptical, and also worried that if they do disappear in that form, they’ll simply organize themselves under a new name.
Part of the explanation for the possible termination of the sites may be that federal legislation is likely to advance that will establish a national policy against bestiality
Last week, Congressmen Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. — two of the leading animal welfare advocates in the Congress — re-introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), which would establish a national anti-cruelty law. That measure passed the Senate unanimously more than a year ago, but one former lawmaker, then Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., blocked the bill from advancing in the House, even though it had 284 cosponsors.
With the changes delivered in the November 2018 elections, Congressman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is now chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He’s an original cosponsor of the PACT Act. We expect him to move the bill, H.R. 724, in short order. The Senate bill leaders, Pat Toomey, R-Penn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., are primed to reintroduce a companion bill and navigate through the Senate for the third time.
Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wyoming don’t have prohibitions on bestiality. Some state laws against bestiality are triggered only if an animal has been injured or killed during a sexual assault, while penetration is sufficient in other states to allow for enforcement. Some states exclude livestock or wildlife from the definition of a bestiality victim. The websites mentioned above include chatter where people talk about moving animals to states where the laws against the practices are non-existent or not enforced.
Some academics have studied the subject, and one researcher concluded that more than a third of arrests for bestiality also involve child sexual abuse or exploitation. In addition, nearly 40 percent of offenders have prior criminal records for bestiality, child sexual abuse, child pornography, domestic violence, battery, adult rape, substance abuse, trespass, public indecency, and even murder. That same study notes that bestiality, particularly when experienced as a child, has been shown to be the single largest risk factor and strongest predictor of increased risk for an individual committing child sexual abuse.
At a time when our nation is divided, opposition to animal cruelty is one of the ideas that unites us. Our nation should have a zero tolerance policy for malicious cruelty, and the PACT Act complements the work of the states in rooting out malicious mistreatment of animals in many, varied, and, in some cases, deviant forms.