Tag Archives: taboo

Food Stuff

I probably shouldn’t even attempt to write this article. I lack any real background knowledge on the subject, and have no academic credentials of any kind whatsoever. While I enjoy writing and contributing the occasional essay, I really ought to be devoting the time to my fiction-writing career instead just now; it’s at a crucial point, and not in a good way. Nor will many people will read this compared to my works of fiction. I’m beginning late at night after a long, hard shift at work knowing full well that I’ve got to get up extra-early tomorrow, and this after going short on sleep last night for other reasons entirely. In short I’m a damned fool to be sitting here typing this. And yet here I am, pounding out the words into my iPad at the local 24-hour eatery.

Why? Because I feel a strange compulsion to do so. A compulsion, I feel, that has much to do with not only who I am as a person, but also why I’m a fur. And it was inspired, of all things, by a coincidence in timing. Just days after finishing the final draft of a novel that in large part deals with the taboo of human cannibalism, I watched with wonder as the British media erupted in outrage over the discovery of horsemeat in the human food chain.

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A Horse’s Thoughts on the Horsemeat Scandal

Over here in the UK, there’s been an extended brouhaha after many cheap TV dinners, known as ‘ready meals’ locally, were found to contain large amounts of horse instead of the promised beef. Some of the meals contained 100% Pure Horse.

Nobody knows how long the horse has been there. It only came to light because a branch of the Irish Government performed some DNA tests and announced the presence of our equine friends in mid-January. And it’s been in the news since then.

I think it’s worth discussing here on [adjective][species] because it relates to our relationship with animals. Also, I’m a furry horse, so I get asked how I feel about horses as a source of meat.

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The Science of Zoophilia

Scientific research on human sexuality is a relatively new field. The Kinsey Reports, published in 1948 (men) and 1953 (women) (link), were the first attempt to gather data on human sexual behaviour. These were informally updated by Playboy in the 1970s (link), back when it retained some literary relevance, in an attempt to understand the changes brought about by the sexual revolution, and—of course—to provide some salacious reading material.

It took until the early 1980s for researchers to confirm that homosexuality is largely set at birth (ref). This work, controversial at the time, contradicted the prevailing wisdom that male homosexuality came about due to feminization of a male child, caused by an overbearing mother and distant father (the reverse supposedly applied for lesbians). This conclusion was simple enough to make: researchers interviewed a large number of people, asking about their childhood and sexual preference, then looked for correlations. (They found none.) And yet such simple data gathering took more than 30 years after Kinsey to be published.

The science of zoophilia is much less mature. Kinsey asked questions and gathered data (as did Playboy) however the first serious attempt to understand zoophilia was published more than 50 years later, by Dr Hani Milestki in 1999. Miletski’s book suggested that zoophilia may be a legitimate sexual preference: one defined by love, not sex.

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Eating Your Spirit Animal

Food, like sex, sometimes has a complex political subtext.

The politics of food made from animals can be especially complex. There are ethical, environmental, moral, and health arguments for and against the consumption of meat.

There are also gender issues associated with meat consumption: why is meat, particularly red meat, associated with masculinity? For example, check out these adverts from Australia, the UK, and the US: all satirical, and all accept the premise that masculinity is inexorably connected with meat consumption. Some feminists believe this connection reinforces objectification of women, arguing that it casts women as the passive supplier of flesh, and men as the active devourer.

Regardless of your own point of view, this seemingly simple basic need for the sustenance of life – the need to eat – has become a complex political subject.

And it’s complicated further if you’re a furry. If you identify as an animal person, it’s impossible to ignore that we live in a world where animals are commodities.

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