Whoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death (Exodus 22:19)

In 1750, in France, Jacques Ferron was convicted of having sex with a donkey. Under Medieval law both Jacques and the donkey would have been sentenced to death. A parish priest petitioned for the court to show mercy, but unfortunately for Ferron the priest would only vouch for the good character of the animal. The donkey was spared and Ferron was burnt at the stake.

In 1642 in America a young man called Thomas Granger raped a horse, a cow, two goats, two calves, five sheep and a turkey (after all that you’d think he would want to eat the turkey instead of shagging it). All of these animals were put on trial and later executed.

In 1606 in Chartres (France, again) Guillaume Guyart sodomised a dog. After capture Guyart escaped custody and left the dog to face trial alone, which it did and was duly convicted of sexual impropriety. As punishment the dog was burnt alive.

There’s a fascinating radio documentary about all this. It first aired on BBC Radio 4 in March, and has since resurfaced on the BBC World Service (which means that it will still be available to listen to). If interested you can find it here…

BBC World Service – The Wednesday Documentary: Animals on Trial

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