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Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
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Christine Overall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001

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“Sex without All the Politics”?

“Sex without All the Politics”?

Sexual Ethics and Human-Canine Relations

Chapter:
(p.234) 16 “Sex without All the Politics”?
Source:
Pets and People
Author(s):

Chloë Taylor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.003.0016

Unlike most species of animals, dogs appear to be potentially consenting and enthusiastic participants in human-animal sexual relations. This has led utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer to argue that some forms of bestiality do not involve cruelty and are morally acceptable. This chapter builds on feminist critical animal studies critiques of utilitarian approaches to animal ethics to show the inadequacy of a utilitarian analysis of human-canine sexual relations, and of zoophilia more generally. Highlighting the power relations involved in domesticating dogs, as well as the gendered (male) and racialized (white) nature of the zoophile phenomenon, this chapter argues that a more nuanced and intersectionalist understanding of the forms of coercion involved in human-canine sexual relations is needed. Such an analysis suggests that zoophilia—most often manifested in human-canine relations today—is not so much a sexual identity or a paraphilia, but part of what feminists have described as a rape culture.

Keywords:   zoophilia, bestiality, rape culture, critical animal studies, utilitarian, power relation

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