Ethics Quiz Of The Day: The Two-Way Peanut Butter Treat…Ick Or Ethics?

Described in news reports as a “baffling oversight,” Canada only bans bestiality if it involves penetration. This means that there is a lot of oral sex going on between humans and moose, or something, so while reminding her colleagues that a Canadian sex freak  used this very loophole to escape conviction last year, Calgary MP Michelle Rempel has introduced Bill C-388 to add one line to the Criminal Code defining bestiality as “any contact by a person, for a sexual purpose, with an animal.”

This of course, would mean that doing business with Harvey Weinstein would be illegal in Canada.

Said Rampel in a statement, “I am disturbed that the government has not yet corrected this glaring void in our criminal code….This is a non-partisan issue.”

Ah, but is it a stupid issue? Or an ethics issue?

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this vital question:

Is it unethical to spread peanut butter on your genitals and then encourage your pet Newfoundland to lick it off?

I have no doubt about the answer to this one. NO.

Is it icky? Yes. A more pure example of the Ick Factor in action, well, for most people anyway, and some unusually judgmental dogs, I guess,  would be hard to imagine. Still, icky isn’t unethical. There is no ethical analysis by which doing this breaches any ethical principles. The dog is just licking up yummy peanut butter (this assumes it isn’t Jiff). The human is engaging in sexual self-gratification, and a bonding experience with his (or her) pet. This is not animal cruelty.

It’s not unethical, and the Canadian law proposed is dumb. It also would be unconstitutional in the U.S.


Source: National Post


21 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz Of The Day: The Two-Way Peanut Butter Treat…Ick Or Ethics?

      • No doubt.

        But something tells me that directly rewarding crotch licking will encourage such behavior with people not intended to receive such crotch licking.

        I think that training behavior into a dog that would lead to unethical outcomes with others who don’t want their crotches licked, has to add something to deciding if this is unethical or not.

      • “My dog has insisted on licking my head…”

        I had a Lab that did that, decades ago. I will never forget the day I shoveled snow (probably the most snow I have ever shoveled in my life, in one chore – so that had to have been in the tons). I came back into the house, panting and sweating, stripped off my top layers and skull cap, and literally crashed face-down onto the living room carpet, motionless, and honestly, so tired, I did not want to move again until after I had a LONG nap, right on that spot. (And I have NEVER slept face-down.) The dog walked up to me, and…I don’t know for how long he did it, because I fell asleep (and for how long, I don’t know), but he started licking my head …and was still licking it when I awoke, briefly, only to fall asleep again. I have read that dogs lick their wounds because there is something “medicinal” in their saliva. I’ll just say, that was one topical treatment that was as soothing as the finest possible full-body massage. I finally awoke feeling ESPECIALLY WELL.

  1. The only serious ethical breach here I’ve heard would be that of consent- the dog does not know what it is doing, perceiving it like any other snack (which could be compared to, say, receiving manual stimulation from a child who did not know it was sexual). Granted, we have the presumptive ability to grant consent on our pets’ behalf- we don’t ask them if they want to get neutered, either- but I don’t think it’s an ENTIRELY absurd claim that to do so is betraying a trust, and just because the dog also enjoys itself is no more an excuse than claiming statutory rape shouldn’t be a crime because the 14 year old had a good time.

    That’s just spitballing, though. I can’t really agree with that analysis, since there’s too much of a fundamental difference between pet ownership and the adult/minor human dynamic in terms of rights and responsibilities. Still, it’s at least something to think about.

  2. This falls into the geek show catagory except it doesn’t involve animal cruelty unless the human hasn’t bathed in awhile. I’m pretty sure that doggie porn will be showing up on the internet soon for 14 year old adolescent males to giggle about.

    • Times are very different from the days of my adolescence when the only porn available was sneaking a peak at the magazine stash of friend’s dad’s.

      Nowadays there is every kind of perversion & kink you could ever think of widely available. I can’t understand how there is any money to be made in porn, as there are no boundaries left to video.

  3. What? No Jiff. According to the Urban Dictionary: Jiffy Job:
    When a male spreads peanut butter on his genitalia and then has his dog lick it off.”
    Don’t know what it’s called if a female does it.

    On a more serious note, according to the introduction to MP Rempel’s statement, the change in the law was made to address one specific case where a man compelled his dog to sexually abuse his 16 year old step-daughter. After failing to make the dog have intercourse with her he put peanut butter on her and took photographs while the dog licked it off. He was charged with a count of bestiality but was acquitted on that charge because the legal definition of bestiality required penetration. He was convicted of numerous charges of sexual offenses against his two stepdaughters.

    The only thing this law would ensure is that the perpetrator in this case would have been found guilty of another charge. Will the law be applied to a man or woman who privately uses peanut butter and their pet for personal enjoyment? I doubt it. Unless the dog talks, who’s going to know?

    • Laws that are made in response to something bad happening are often passed with the logic “if this was the law, that wouldn’t have happened and/or he could have been punished more severely.” We hear “It’s only going to be used for cases like that- you don’t want THAT to be legal, do you? It’s not going to be used to go after the little guy.”

      And then, surprise surprise, it turns out that the justice system LOVES having more charges they can hit you with. Would you trust the most aggressive, hostile police you know to exercise restraint and to only apply the new law to “bad” people who do the thing, not to people who “privately” do the thing? Because, for example, laws designed to come down hard on drug dealers are how we get no-knock SWAT-style raids of a guy with pot plants behind the bushes, if the police can in any way torture the facts to cram them into a shape they can justify as falling under that shiny new law that “only is to get the really really bad guys.”

      • I agree that if the police learn of a case where this law would apply, they would make the charge. I know that prosecutors will make every single charge they can in a given case. I just feel that in the case of this particular law the chances of them learning of an individual person doing this are small. Although people do tend to share the dumbest things.

        I do fear being told that I shouldn’t worry because of course the state will apply the law the way it was intended instead of the way it was written. This is how we got situations such as children being charged with manufacturing child pornography and being tried as adults for something that wouldn’t be a crime if they actually were an adult. I feel that laws passed to “do something, think of the children” tend to have a lot of unintended consequences.

        • Gotcha- I thought you were ignoring that law of unintended consequences. As it stands I’m inclined to agree that the chances of getting caught are vanishingly small- and yet, I’m also resistant to the idea of opening that gate just to have one more thing to go after someone with.

  4. It seems to me that language would also include many procedures involved in animal breeding, for instance, the harvesting of semen for AI. It doesn’t specify that the “sexual purpose” must be the gratification of the human in question.

  5. It’s not unethical, and the Canadian law proposed is dumb. It also would be unconstitutional in the U.S.

    Not being into this type of thing I haven’t researched… but I thought a lot of this conduct was illegal in many US states. Have those laws been struck down by some case?

  6. I would have thought this was an Onion piece. Does the dog cuddle afterwards, tip toe out of the room in the wee hours of the morning, text the next day?

    On a very practical level – there is no physical harm being done to the animal.They don’t know the difference. And let’s face it; dogs can be gross. They eat shit and dead animals. They like to smell crotches. They love being close to us no matter if we’re showered or have been sweating all day. And they love curling up in, or chewing on, our dirty laundry. They want nothing but to be near us. They will do whatever it takes to be in our company. And free peanut butter besides?

    But WTF? Seriously? What is wrong with people?

    • Even if the actual act washes out to be not-unethical, it’s still a solid indicator that something is severely off with the person involved. Maybe they’ve got their unethical urges under wraps and redirect all that energy into canine oral sex…I mean, maybe it’s just a solid act of diversion into something non-destructive and non-harmful towards others thereby saving society from what this person COULD be doing?

      but… I mean…

      Has anyone asked this guy if everything is ok at home? How’s work been?

  7. There is no ethical analysis by which doing this breaches any ethical principles. The dog is just licking up yummy peanut butter (this assumes it isn’t Jiff).

    I think this needs to be fleshed out a bit….

    Let us start with why it would be unethical penetrate an animal for sexual gratification. The chief reasons I think come down to potentially:

    * Causing the animal unnecessary distress
    * Causing potential physical injury or illness
    * Normalizing socially deviant behavior

    These reasons apply equally to all forms of animal abuse and neglect.

    When it comes to a distressingly literal “doggy style”, do these factors apply? At this point, I am only considering ethics, not law.

    > Causing the animal unnecessary distress

    Distress is normal part of life. Dogs need to go to the vet; many are not happy about the experience. Still, the benefits clearly outweigh the distress (although excessive stress should be mitigated by training, treats, medication, etc).

    So necessarily distress is acceptable. If licking a man’s genitals causes an animal distress, however, that distress cannot be reasonably called necessary. On a case-by-case minimum, then, some animals may find it distressing, and the owner must cease.

    Does licking a “willy” cause an animal distress, in general? This depends on the dogs awareness of the situation. Dogs are motivated by many factors.

    #1, Mating Instinct: Untrained randy dogs will hump anything, and voluntarily to boot. You may need a new pair of pants…. So, dogs are not necessarily disgusted by sexual contact with humans (Why did you send me down this rabbit hole????)

    #2, Scent: Building on #1, dogs have a power connection to their nose, and are attracted to anything that smells. Crotches are notoriously smelly. There are also hormones, and… fluids involved. It will naturally attract a dogs curiosity. They may even be able to figure out what it does based on the scent. So there is potentially more than the dog thinking it gets a peanutty treat.

    #3, Please its Master: If the dog is truly clueless as to the nature of the appendage it is licking, then it will happy lick to please it master and get the peanutty treat. If however it knows what the appendage is, then its motive becomes murkier. Dogs will put up with some distress to please their master; they will put up with wearing purely decorative sweaters and costumes, for instance.

    If the dog knows that it is licking a sexual organ, I do not know enough about inter-species sexual behavior to know if that it distressing. It may still lick, and even do so excitedly to please its master. That is not itself proof that it is happy about it.

    > Causing the animal injury or illness:

    Licking something is not going to hurt the dog. Sexually transmitted diseases are a risk, though the unlikely nature of cross-species transmission partially mitigates this. We will call this criteria a wash.

    > Normalizing socially deviant behavior:

    This behavior is not necessarily scale-able, and challenges Kant. If everyone trained their dog to lick their willies, then it would not be deviant. It also becomes another vector for sexually transmitted diseases, but no more than any other sexual behavior. On a small scale, training a dog to lick genitals requires extra care to keep that dog away from unwilling participants, or extraordinary training; but this is also a consequential matter, rather than a central ethical consideration.

    So far, this is only human deviance; what impact does this have on inter-canine behavior. If the canine becomes sexualized to humans, does this impact its interactions with other dogs? Does it make it more likely to harm other animals? Even so, however, since it is not unethical to keep a dog away from other dogs, inter-canine impacts can be mitigated. Since it is not unethical to keep a dog away from other humans, unwelcome behavior towards others can be mitigated. Of course, total isolation of a social creature causes distress, so the owner must be able to meet all of the dogs social needs. Overall, though, mitigatible.

    Over all, nearly any ethical concern can be mitigated. Non-ethical concerns though are also pretty strong here as well.

    Overall, and let me emphasize this


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