Animals have no independent voice, and it is left to concerned humans to conserve and protect them from cruelty.
Although we still have a long way to go before animals are granted basic rights, there are acts of cruelty that most countries find abhorrent and unacceptable – including bestiality.
But while bestiality is illegal in NSW, it remains legal in some parts of the world – including Denmark and several of the United States.
And although bestiality is certainly no laughing matter, one might shake their head in disbelief when reading about the following four ‘WTF’ cases.
1. Bestiality is no laughing matter!
While presiding over a 2014 trial concerning a man who allegedly tried to have sex with several cows and a sheep, English Judge James Patrick had to tell people in the courtroom to stop laughing.
The defendant, Paul Lovell, was literally caught with his pants down in a field near Enfield in the UK. A couple watched curiously as Lovell allegedly approached a cow and tried to coax it into performing sex. After being rejected, Lovell then attempted to do the same thing with a number of other cows, and even “tried his luck with some sheep.”
In an attempt to understand the precise nature of the defendant’s alleged conduct, the Judge asked one of the eye witnesses to demonstrate Lovell’s actions – resulting in rapturous laughter from the public gallery.
But His Honour did not share their amusement, sternly stating:
“If you do find the case particularly funny, if you can try to get over your laughter over lunch that would be great.”
Mr Lovell was ultimately convicted of the crime.
2. Save the Donkey
Frenchman Jacques Ferron was tried for bestiality back in 1750. He copulated with a female donkey, and both were sentenced to death by hanging.
Luckily for the donkey, a petition circulated amongst the town folk attesting to her good character. Among other things, the document submitted to the court on 19 September 1750 stated:
“We’re willing to bear witness that she is in word and deed and in all her habits of life a most honest creature.”
The donkey was ultimately spared, but Mr Ferron was not so lucky- being killed by the hangman’s noose.
3. Fowl connection
In 1880, Mr Reynolds faced Dubbo Circuit Court in NSW accused of having an “unnatural connection” with a turkey.
During the trial, the following extract was read to the jury from a book called Russell on Crimes:
“An unnatural connection with an animal of the fowl kind is not sodomy [especially] when the fowl was so small that its private parts would not admit those of a man and were torn away in the attempt.”
However, the jury did not buy that logic and found Reynolds guilty of bestiality with a male turkey.
He was sentenced to four years of hard labour on the roads or other public works.
4. Goat for a wife
The final strange case comes from Sudan, where Mr Alifi lived in apparent harmony with his goat.
Alifi was relaxing at home one night, when he heard his goat making awful sounds. He rushed outside and found a man having sex with his beloved companion. Outraged, Alifi referred the incident to a council of elders, who found that the perpetrator’s actions meant that he had to take the goat “as his wife” and pay Alifi a dowry for the privilege.
Questioned about the incident at a later time, Alifi reportedly stated: “We have given him the goat, and as far as we know, they are still together.”