Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where’s the Beef?

I am fascinated by the splitting of hairs when it comes to the legalities of certain behaviors. For example, paying someone cash for sex is illegal in many places where it is entirely legal to pay two people (or many more) to have sex on camera (or one person to masturbate on camera) and then sell the results. And when you consider that money is simply a representative of a good or service, it is even more strange that paying someone for sex would be illegal when essentially buying drinks in exchange for sex is legal.

A 15-year-old girl can’t consent to sex or most medical procedures, but she can consent to having her child (created in a very behavior to which she can’t consent) chopped into pieces and pulled from her womb. Selling alcohol and tobacco to be consumed is legal, but selling pot is illegal in most places (and no, I’ve never inhaled or handled pot, nor do I want to). “Practicing medicine” without a license, such as by setting someone’s broken arm, can be illegal. Selling a baby is illegal, but selling surrogacy services is not. It was unacceptable for Reggie Bush, as a college student playing college football, to receive certain gifts, but everyone from the university to the television network can make millions of dollars selling ad time/space because of his athletic abilities.

When I saw the picture that accompanied this story, I thought about how there are people who would be prosecuted and shamed for done the same activity – getting sperm from a bull or other animal. Eduardo Garcia reports in this Reuters article that Argentina is selling the sperm for beef production purposes.

At Las Lilas ranch on Argentina's rolling Pampas plains, 65 breeding bulls -- called studs -- graze in individual pens divided by electric fences to stop them from fighting.

During regular "harvests," workers whisk away the semen of bulls like Montecristo in plastic containers before the animals get the chance to mount the cows paraded before them.

"It's not dangerous. The bulls are used to it," Garcia said as the workers dodge and duck between the hulking animals, wearing overalls and gloves.
Now, if someone had some sort of problem and did the same thing for sexual jollies, they could be arrested. It is just one of those things that strikes me as odd. I can agree that one behavior is good and should be legal, and the other is bad and should be illegal. But I can also see the actual behaviors aren’t all that different, even if the motivations are very different.

I do have to wonder if men who are married to women in this line of work feel a little insecure or intimidated.

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