Pony, the Orangutan Prostitute and the Legalities of Bestiality
In the last week of November 2018, an online news article was published detailing how Pony, an orangutan prostitute was rescued from a village after being made to satisfy the needs of men for some six years. She’d been chained to a wall, lying on a dirty mattress with a full face of make-up, perfume and jewellery.
Believed to be stolen from her mum as a baby, Pony was shaved most days which left her skin irritated, covered in sores and prone to mosquito bites. There, she was offered to paying locals living near a palm oil farm in Borneo, as a prostitute.
The rescue effort of Pony was made quite difficult when locals, who were reluctant to allow authorities to take her away, equipped themselves with knives and guns. It took 35 armed policemen to get the villagers to hand over Pony.
Although her rescue took place 15 years ago in 2003, an online article recently detailed her progress today, which was limited to an enclosure in Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre as being released into the wild was never going to be an option due to the length of time she’d spent in human captivity. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint which media article kick-started the viral re-emergence of Pony’s story, it was quickly and widely shared and discussed, as if the rescue efforts had just taken place.
Bestiality and zoophilia
Both terms are related but bestiality refers to the act of a human having sex with an animal for sexual gratification with or without penetration regardless of the motivation and circumstances. Some definitions include the act of intercourse whilst other sources don’t.
Zoophilia is used to describe a human who is sexually aroused or inspired by an animal, particularly with a desire to form sexual relationships with them.
So it could be said that bestiality is practice or the act, something that people do, whilst zoophilia is a preference or experience, something that people feel.
Arizona, United States - delivery driver James Allen Darland faced a number of bestiality charges for intercourse with his own dog and dogs whose owners were out when he delivered packages to their home - October 2015.
History and cases of bestiality Whilst it appears that outside the communities of those who engage in either bestiality or zoophilia, bestiality is seen as taboo as paedophilia. Linda Lovelace is said to be the most famous female porn star to have ever participated in bestiality on camera when she engaged in sexual intercourse with a German Shepherd in two movies titled Dogarama (1971) and Dog One.
Interestingly enough, bestiality has always been a part of human history. It’s believed that men and women would have sexual intercourse with dogs in Babylon, the Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops was said to boast about the passionate sex he had with his mares and the goddess Bona Dea in ancient Rome was apparently known for her famous orgies with a pack of dogs.
One of Hitler’s doctors at Auschwitz was obsessed with bestiality experiments and tried to impregnate women with dogs from Jewish and Polish females used for manual labour. It was concluded that whilst a dog’s sperm will swim to a human female’s egg, it cannot inseminate it.
In north-west Indiana, United States, 46 year old Michael Bessigano has a long history of sexually abusing and killing animals. As a child, he would sleep with dead animals including a raccoon. Since his first arrest in 1991 for sexually abusing and killing chickens, he has since engaged in sexual intercourse with an array of guinea fowl, dogs and chickens. Although no updates have been posted in online media sources since September 1, 2017, a judge was considering forcing him to undergo chemical castration.
Every religion varies in their tolerance when it comes to bestiality. Although Christianity and Judaism forbid any sexual engagement between humans and animals, Islam is said to not have any specific prohibitions against such acts, provided the animal is not harmed.
A documentary by Vice titled Asses of the Caribbean (2007) documented the widespread practice of pubescent boys having sex with donkeys because their deeply Catholic culture meant that women generally don't have sex until marriage. Young men who have sex with donkeys believe it will improve their sexual prowess and increase the size of their genitals. This practice is said to be widespread and socially accepted.
Countries with no bestiality laws
A number of countries appear to not have any enacted laws in place for bestiality, although many sources of official online information tend to conflict with each other and some countries may be in the process of implementing prohibiting legislation. Most online sources agreed that bestiality is legal at this current point of time in the following countries:
Brazil (one of three largest producers of bestiality X-rated films in the world)
Czech Republic (unless cruelty to the animal can be proven)
Denmark (there’s a rise in underground animal sex tourism and they are hosts to animal brothels)
Finland (legal since 1971 with the mentally ill and lonely citizens in mind, as long as “it cannot be proved that the animal has been treated too roughly or cruelly or that the act has caused unnecessary pain and suffering.”)
Germany (bestiality brothels are said to be increasing)
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (legal for civilians)
Hungary (one of three largest producers of bestiality X-rated films in the world)
Iceland (legal since 1940)
Japan (one of three largest producers of bestiality X-rated films in the world)
South Africa (forbidden but no law to ban it)
United States (Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming)
United States Minor Outlying Islands
Phoenix, United States - 44 year old Melessa Ann Martinez and her husband 39 year old Roy Lee Johnston were arrested and face bestiality charges involving a friend's dog on 30 November 2017.
Dangerous and fatal diseases and injury
Aside from the moral aspects of sexual engagement between humans and animals, the transfer of diseases can be dangerous, if not deadly. Although it works both ways, for humans, they can be infected with:
Leptospirosis – carried by dogs, horses and sheep and can be transmitted through any contact with the animal’s sexual organs. This usually leads to meningitis and 10% of cases are life threatening.
Echinococcosis - this is carried by cats and dogs and involves the transmission of parasitic worms from the faeces of the animal. The onset of this disease often has no symptoms and this phase can last for a year, complicating diagnosis. Eventually cysts will begin to grow in the liver, brain and lungs, as well as other organs. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.
Rabies - present in the saliva of cats, dogs and horses, rabies is probably the most severe disease a human can catch. In unvaccinated people, the disease is almost always fatal if treatment is not taken quickly.
It is also believed that men who have sex with animals, are twice as likely to develop penile cancer.
There’s also the threat of fatal physical damage caused by sexual intercourse such as a number of publicised cases detailing people who’ve had sex with horses, resulting in the perforation of organs such as the colon. One of the most famous cases is of Kenneth Pinyan’s death, an aerospace engineer at Boeing in Washington, United States who had sexual intercourse with a horse. Pinyan had visited a farm which attracted an online reputation as a destination for people desiring sex with livestock. The event that took place that led to Mr Pinyan’s death on July 2, 2005 was due to the size of the horse’s sex organ destroying him internally, with the official description being stated as an “acute peritonitis due to perforation of the colon”.
More recently on July 25, 2018, eight men in an Indian village in Haryana’s Mewat district, allegedly gang raped a pregnant goat and it died the next day from a brain haemorrhage.
Most countries have laws against cruelty to animals and most arguments for criminalisation of zoophilia are centred around the fact that it can cause both physical and mental pain to animals, particularly when they are drugged beforehand so that they can't resist. Some activists believe animals can and do derive sexual pleasure.
When I read the online article about Pony, the orangutan prostitute, I wasn’t sure whether to believe the story or not. I’d heard about people having sexual intercourse with horses but I would have never imagined it to be as common or as widely accepted as what I found when I was researching the topic. I would have never imagine how far back in history bestiality was said to exist or how many countries are yet to prohibit it.
For me, it brings disgust and particularly as an animal lover, I could not fathom why men (or women) would be so desperate to sexually engage with an animal.
Despite being a topic I would imagine most readers would find appalling and sickening, I decided to write a blog from the information I found as a result of my inability to comprehend the act of bestiality and my constant need to understand other people’s viewpoints, particularly in relation to answering my question of ‘why’.
Animals can‘t consent and I would imagine in most cases, human participants wouldn’t care about any cruelty or injury imposed on the animal at the expense of any positive and desperate sexual gratification they receive. The pregnant goat that was allegedly gang raped in India and later died is a prime example.
With or without any legal or community-sanctioned punishment, I would imagine that bestiality is a beast that could never be tamed. The privacy of an individuals’ life and their sexual preferences tend to operate behind closed doors and unless they have previous convictions or the authorities are made aware of their tendencies to engage in animal intercourse, it’s almost impossible to monitor. Despite the moral or ethical disgust myself and others may share.
And as for Pony who continues her psychological trauma and at times, fear and anger of men who approach her in the Rehabilitation Centre, no doubt another orangutan would have taken her place and that’s only one incident that we’ve been made aware of. Who knows what else is occurring behind closed doors or closed villages.