Animals Can Consent to Sex with Humans, Claims Human Accused of Running Animal Brothel
In April 2010, ex-cocaine smuggler Douglas Spink briefly dominated headlines when police raided his property in Whatcom County, Washington. Inside, they found a Welsh tourist making use of what the press has since described as an animal brothel, replete with tail-less mice covered in Vaseline. Overnight, Spink became the poster boy for the bizarre, brutal world of bestiality.
But according to Spink and journalist Carreen Maloney—whose upcoming book, Uniquely Dangerous, deals with his case—that’s not quite how things went down. Maloney believes, based on court records, that the Vaseline mice, for instance, were a fabrication created by the local Humane Society, and Spink says the ordeal is a manifestation of a bigoted assault on him for being an outspoken defender of heterospecies relationships, sometimes known as zoophilia.
Spink doesn’t consider himself just another animal fucker. He describes himself as a counter-surveillance researcher (at Baneki Privacy Labs), a heterospecies writer and thinker, and species equality activist who cut his teeth in frontline direct action in the 1990s with Earth First.
VICE recently spoke to Spink, in the final stretch of his current sentence, about his views on heterospecies identity, zoophobic bigotry, and our revilement of inter-species intimacy as a natural result of human solipsism and aggressively ecocidal policies.
VICE: First off, are you OK with being called a zoophile, or do you use a different term?
Douglas Spink: I tend to use “heterospecies” rather than “zoophile.” I see it as the difference between calling someone a faggot and calling them gay.
I do not think that I’m terribly good as a categorical representative of heterospeciesists or any particular class. I’m a bit of an outlier, even in the communities where I feel most at home. A BASE-jumping, Chicago MBA-carrying, counter-surveillance tech-developing Asperger’s-diagnosed oddball. Proudly so.
I have chosen a path of dissent from the default zoophobic stance in our current social sphere, and as a result I’ve been targeted and imprisoned. It’s a thought crime issue, not an action-based issue. My words are considered criminal, and enormous effort has been expended to censor me.
Can you tell me how you first got engaged in heterospecies identities and issues?
I was raised in a horse-centric environment, having learned to ride at age two. I was (and am) able to empathetically understand things from the horse’s perspective. In biology class, I was presented with some counter-intuitive claims of “facts that were decidedly incongruent with what I knew from my firsthand immersion alongside equine companions, like “Animals were devoid of any interest in sex or sexuality, and bred purely based on instinct.”
As a young teenager, I was able to learn about the (then new) horrors of factory farming from nonprofits like PETA. I became a lifelong (if imperfect) vegetarian, and my interest in activist work in support of non-human wellbeing kicked into high gear. Bring those threads together, and you get the question of heterospecies relations between humans and nonhumans.
Kill These Fish Before They Eat Your Dog
“It has no known predators in this environment, can grow up to approximately 15 pounds, and it can get up and walk. What more do you need?” Continue
Activists Couldn’t Stop 10,000 Dogs from Being Eaten in China Last Weekend
Over the last week, there’s been some pretty intense media coverage of China’s Dog Meat Festival, which has become something of a tradition over the last two decades. As the name suggests—and much to the dismay of all the people who see dogs as friends rather than food—tens of thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten each year at the event, which takes place in the city of Yulin, Guangxi province.
I was in Yulin on Saturday, when locals once again raised glasses loaded with lychee wine to the heavens and tucked into bowls full of freshly roasted, fried and boiled dog.
Pet-lovers across China and the rest of the world have been quick to lament Yulin’s apparently boundless appetite for puppy flesh, and several Chinese celebrities have made online pleas to bring the festival to a halt. However, locals are reluctant to give up their annual gathering. When I spoke to one female vendor in the downtown Dong Kou meat market, she told me she’d lost count of the number of dogs she’d sold in the last week but guessed it was well over a hundred a day—business has rarely been better.
Shandai, from animal protection group the Guangdong Shoushan Volunteer Center, reckoned that previous estimations of 10,000 dogs being sacrificed for the festival are too low, claiming the figure is more like 40,000. (Plus 10,000 cats, in case you’re not really a “dog person”)
Walking around the city, the presence of animal rights protesters seemed to have resulted in an unapologetic backlash. Locals filling their baskets with freshly chopped paws and tails were defensive over their dog-eating customs, one woman in the market declaring indignantly, “I’m not forcing them to eat dog, so they can’t force me to stop.”
“Even more people are eating dog this year,” complained Pian Shan Kong, an animal activist from Guizhou who has been observing the festival for three years. “As outsiders come to protest, locals are spurred on to resist.” Kong is currently holding four rescued pups in his Yulin hotel room—the guy who sold him them reportedly got angry when he realized they weren’t destined for the dinner plate, and threatened to slice all four open on the spot if Kong couldn’t match his inflated asking price.
Tonight in NYC: Scott Alario’s What We Conjure Opening
Scott Alario is a photographer based between Providence, RI and Alfred, NY. In his series What We Conjure, Alario uses black and white film and a large format camera to picture his wife and children as the cast of a mystical and elegant play. Tonight, Alario’s first solo show in New York opens at Kristen Lorello Gallery on the Lower East Side. We talked about what it means to use your family as subjects, other photographers who have done this, and selling personal photographs as a commodity in the art market.
Scott Alario: The gallery just opened. It’s had one other show, it opened in April and I’m the second show. The owner, Kristen, worked at a bunch of different galleries before starting her own, and she’s well versed in painting and sculpture. It’s interesting to talk to her about photography.
I think it’s good for photographers to be in a gallery that shows painters and sculptors, too. I mean it’s cool that there are photography galleries, but I think it’s better for everything to be together. You teach photography at Alfred University?
Yeah, but that’s another multidisciplinary place because there aren’t majors, or defined specific majors, it’s like everyone’s just doing whatever they want.
Does your family come to Alfred with you when you teach there?
Yeah, they’re there with me hangin’ out. And my daughter’s five and a half and she’s going to school. And we just had a baby in October.
From Galilee to the Negev
An exclusive look at photographer Stephen Shore’s work for the This Place project, exploring the complexities of Israel and the West Bank.
Has China’s One-Child Policy Bred a Generation of Dog Lovers?
People in Shanghai fucking love dogs, maybe even more than they love themselves. Walk down the street in China’s biggest city and you might see heiresses’ Chihuahuas getting facial scrubs, lawyers adjusting their poodle’s distressed jeans, a Yorkshire terrier with a pink Mohawk, or a couple feeding their corgi cupcakes outside a tea shop.
But what’s motivating the people of Shanghai to treat their dogs like extras in a Katy Perry video? Ask around and you get the impression that lots of locals are turning to their pups to fill a one-child-policy-shaped hole in their lives. It’s amateur psychology of the most amateurish kind, sure—but when you see a dog dressed up in little booties being pushed around in a stroller it’s hard to escape the conclusion that many Chinese people are turning themselves into surrogate bitches.
To tap into the city’s hound obsession—and to max out my phone’s memory with pictures of dogs wearing sneakers—I decided to head to the annual Shanghai International Dog Expo.
First I met Greg Li, Vice President of the Shanghai International Trade Promotion company, which organized the event. Sitting next to a board displaying the tagline, “My dog. My family. My life,” he explained that his event now attracts 50,000 people over five days, compared to 20,000 two years ago. He said unofficial stats put dog ownership rates here at around 12 percent of households, which would mean there are well over 1.1 million pet dogs in Shanghai, not including the nomadic armies of strays.
This Danish Guy Has Legal Sex with His Dog
It hasn’t been long since the Copenhagen Zoo pissed off the entire internet by turning a young, healthy giraffe named Marius into lion food. But last week, they were at it again,killing four lions to make room for a new male lion.
The zoo’s enthusiasm for culling healthy animals underscores Denmark’s unique approach to animal rights. For example,a it’s illegal to buy a pit bull in the country, but completelylegal to have sex with a dog, or any other animal, as long as you aren’t torturing it. There have been multiple attempts to criminalize zoophilia, but nothing has been done yet—presumably because none of the major political parties seem to think that having sex with animals is that big of a deal.
A number of animal rights groups don’t share the Danish political class’s breezy apathy and have warned that Denmark is becoming a prime destination for animal sex tourism. The thing is, there’s not a lot of evidence to support the activists’ claims—onlysome websites set up by various Danes demanding that lawmakers clamp down on zoophiles and “beasts” (as proponents of bestiality are called by people who know about that sort of thing).
To find out more, I logged onto Beast Forum, a popular zoophilia message board and apparently a great place to go if you want to borrow a dog from a stranger for an evening of consensual love-making. On the boards I met a 29-year-old I’ll call “Michael,” and spoke to him about his country’s attitude towards having sex with animals.
VICE: How did you realize that sex with animals turned you on?
Michael: It started when I was 14 or 15 years old. I grew up in the countryside, so I’d often seen animals mating, and that made me curious.
When did you first act on that curiosity?
A couple of years ago. I’d talked about animal sex with a female friend and she got curious about it. She had her own dog, and one day she let the dog take her. She told me about it the next day, and we went to her place and I got to watch. And, later, to try it myself. The dog looked interested in me, so I let it take me.
What is it about animals that turns you on?
It’s difficult to explain. They’re more honest and, well, more animal-like. If a dog likes you, there’s no doubt about it. Contrary to what people think, an animal can easily say no if it doesn’t want to have sex with you. I guess some animals are just beautiful and lovely to be with.
Which species turn you on in particular?
Mostly dogs. Horses a bit as well. And, with dogs, specifically collies, labradors, and German shepherds. They’re beautiful dogs. Most of my experiences have been with dogs, but I also caressed a mare once.