In March, one Harold Hart, 63, of Neillsville, Wisconsin was arrested for allegedly had committed sexual acts with cows at a Greenwood, Wisconsin farm more than fifty times since 2004. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, of course, was all over this, but their reaction was a bit odd given Ingrid Newkirk’s previous claims about bestiality.
PETA’s Daniel Paden sent a letter to Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zwieg urging Zwieg to order psychological testing for Hart and waxed on about how people who have sex with animals are also supposedly more likely to engage in other criminal behaviors,
A recent study by Jory, Flemming, and Burton shows that 96 percent of offenders who had engaged in bestiality also admitted to sexual assaults on humans. When asked how many serial killers had a history of abusing animals, FBI supervisory special agent Alan Brantley, a psychologist who was formerly on staff at a maximum security prison, said, “The real question is, Â‘How many do not?Â’” Experts agree that it is the severity of the behavior, not the species of the victim, that matters.
PETA’s Martin Mesereau also maintained there was a link between bestiality and other sex crimes, saying in a press release,
Studies show that offenders who commit bestiality often go on to commit sex crimes against humans. The community should follow this case closely because anyone capable of this kind of cruelty poses a definitive risk, not just to animals, but to fellow human beings.
If people who have sex with animals are so much more likely to engage in other criminal sexual acts, why was Ingrid Newkirk so nonchalant about it when defending Peter Singer’s claims about bestiality?
Singer, you might remember, was roundly criticized by most animal rights activists and groups for saying the following in a book review,
The potential violence of the orangutan’s come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because [Birute] Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.
The only prominent activist who came to Singer’s defense was Ingrid Newkirk, who said of bestiality,
If a girl gets sexual pleasure from riding a horse, does the horse suffer? If not, who cares? If you French kiss your dog and he or she thinks it’s great, is it wrong? We believe all exploitation and abuse is wrong. If it isn’t exploitation and abuse, it may not be wrong.
Following Newkirk’s claims, shouldn’t investigators first establish whether or not the sex between Hart and the bovines was consensual and or not? Certainly the fact that he apparently tied the cows up first might initially lead one to conclude that it was not, but perhaps the cows on this particular farm have some sort of bondage fetish. Either way, at a minimum — using Newkirk’s benchmark — bestiality may not even be wrong, much less lead people to commit sex crimes against humans.
Perhaps Hart’s defense should claim that he was merely taking noted animal advocate Ingrid Newkirk’s advice. No, wait a minute . . . if a judge learns Hart takes Newkirk seriously, that would be proof positive that he’s nuts.
PETA pressures DA in cow-sex case. Marshfield News-Herald, March 9, 2005.
Peta Demands Jail Time, Psychiatric Intervention If Alleged Neillsville Animal Rapist Is Convicted. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, March 8, 2005.