Robinson Devor ‘s Controversial Movie – Zoo
Posted on December 18th, 2010

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

 Robinson Devor “ƒ”¹…”s reconstructed controversial documentary ZOO is a narrative on a community that engages in physical and emotional connections with horses.   The movie was inspired by an unusual true incident of a man who died from a perforated colon after he arranged to have sex with a stallion. 

 The modern society views   Zoophilia,  or bestiality as a sexual deviant behavior. The movie Zoo brings us a repulsive topic, which is rarely discussed and often avoided. But the Zoo brings us a   moral question how human deals with animals. When a person or a group of people engage in sex with animals it is highly condemned and treated as an immoral as well as an unlawful act. It is a punishable offence. On the other hand, every day hundred thousands of cattle, pigs etc are brutally killed in the slaughterhouses to feed humans. No one questions this issue, which is truly cruelty to animals and accept it as a day-to-day norm.

 Robinson Devor “ƒ”¹…”s Zoo recounts the so called the zoo lovers -a community of people who are connected with horses. They are physically and emotionally attached to horses. For the zoo lovers connecting with horses is an expression of love and passion.   They see the horses as objects of love and treat them as equal partners.

 The emotional and physical connections between human and animal were recorded since the dawn of human history. The Anthropologists agree that people share some kind of inner connection (spiritual, emotional or otherwise) with animals.  Over 20,000 years ago, man had domesticated cats, dogs and other household pets. Naturally, there is a profound connection between human and animals. The Egyptian civilization treated cats as creatures that bring good omen. The cow was a sacred symbol in the Mohandajaro (Indian) civilization. In many cultures lion symbolizes heroism and power. The animal sacrifices   that were practiced during the ancient times tell us the spiritual connection that man had with the animals.

 According to the famous Anthropologist Desmond Morris, some animal species derive sexual satisfaction by coitus.   Some species (apes / doges) even engage in masturbation. Hence, animals too derive sexual satisfaction and sexual gratification.

Zoophilia had been recorded in the ancient mythology. According to the Greek mythology, the God Zeus   transforms   in to different animals in order to copulate with mortal women. In the Hindu mythology Zoophilia has been described in vivid religious terms.  The ancient Hindu ritual – Aswamedayagaya  is a form of  bestiality in which a woman connects with a highbred horse. This ritual symbolizes prosperity and masculine strength.  In the temple of Khajuraho in India there are statues depicting   men   having intercourse with   horses.  According to the Buddhist, literature King Kosol witnessed a bestiality event that occurred with the queen Mallika. 

 Several centuries ago, the brothels in France had   stage exhibitions of animals mating and this form of stage sex shows are still being performed in Thailand. Hence, some people derive satisfaction by physically connecting with the animals.

The animals had been used as   objects of love and sex in many cultures in the ancient time. Many tribes in Africa, Asia and Mediterranean have various folktales that narrate bestiality.  These folktales recount lions fathering human babies or wolves nurturing human offspring. There is a deep-rooted connection between human and animal that is still evident in our collective unconscious.   Some  radical psychologists’ view that for women horse riding give some form of unconscious sexual satisfaction.

 With the Victorian concepts, the Western society repressed most of   basic human instincts. Freudian influence led the Western society to make a clear cut between neuroses and psychoses. Many human behaviors were treated as pathology or deviations.

What do we mean by abnormal? argues Professor Izenk.  As he points out abnormal is statistical. Therefore, many sexual practices became deviations. The term  Zoophilia, that was introduced by Krafft Ebing in 1886  is considered to be  the practice of sex between humans and non-human animals (bestiality), or a preference or fixation on such practice.  Many view it as an animal abuse and a crime against nature.

 The established view in the field of psychology is that zoophilia is a mental disorder. DSM-III-R (APA, 1987) stated that sexual contact with animals is almost never a clinically significant problem by itself. It may reflect childhood experimentation or lack of other avenues of sexual expression. Exclusive desire for animals rather than humans is considered a rare paraphilia, and sufferers often have other paraphilias. 

 The World Health Organization takes the same position, listing a sexual preference for animals in its ICD-10 as “other disorder of sexual preference. According to Professor Stephanie LaFarge Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School two groups can be distinguished: bestialists, who rape or abuse animals, and zoophiles, who form an emotional and sexual attachment to animals.

  The American sex researcher Alfred Kinsey rated the percentage of people who had sexual interaction with animals at some point in their lives as 8% for men and 3.6% for women, and claimed it was 40″”…”50 percent in people living near farms.

Psychoanalysts regard   zoophilia as a fantasy may provide an escape from cultural expectations, restrictions, and judgments in regard to sex. In the past, some bestiality laws may have been made in the belief that sex with an animal could result in monstrous offspring, as well as offending the community. Major religions deny  zoophilia as a sin.

 Robinson Devor the director of the movie Zoo puts the viewers on the spot by questioning the double standards and hypocrisies of the modern society. Although the documentary ZOO discusses a repulsive topic (according to the accepted moral standards),   it reflects some of basic human instincts that are innate to   humans. 

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