Bestiality new Aids myth - SPCA

2002-03-25 14:05

Johannesburg - The National Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) says it is horrified at claims that having sex with an animal prevents people from getting Aids. The organisation says bestiality neither prevents Aids nor is it a cure for the deadly disease.

An NSPCA statement said on Monday it had noted an SABC news report that boys from Mamvuka village in Nzhelele Valley in the Northern Province had had sex with goats to avoid getting Aids.

The organisation appealed to the public to come forward with information on the claims.

NSPCA said the claims had been among those made in a news item broadcast on Sunday evening, but it had not yet received any official complaints.

"Bestiality is a criminal offence. Charges can be laid under the Criminal Procedure Act and also in terms of the Animals Protection Act," said the NSPCA.

It said two people had recently been convicted for bestiality and had been sent to jail without the option of a fine.

"An appeal is made to anyone with information on this - or any other bestiality offence(s) - to come forward."

The NSPCA emphasised that charges could be laid and proceeded with only when there was enough information to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said on Monday that the Northern Province police had not received any reports of such crimes.

Bestiality 'safe sex' says boy

But the SABC interviewed at least one boy who admitted he considered bestiality as safe sex, and that he and his friends had sex with goats up to four times a week.

"We know about Aids and we are very afraid of it. That is why we are having sex with these goats. Goats don't have Aids.

"We see people in the village dying every day. It's because they have slept with one another and infected each other. Goats can't get those infections. We would therefore rather have sex with them," a Grade 11 pupil told the broadcaster.

"It's obvious that if I'm not sick there is nothing I can transmit to goats and goats to me. We won't become HIV-positive because goats don't get Aids. We often share the same goat and don't get each other's diseases," he said.

Call for education campaign

The NSCPA said some of the statements made during the broadcast revealed a lack of education, and that an information campaign should be launched in the affected areas.

"Whether education or prosecution is the key, the matter cannot move forward without co-operation and solid information.

"The NSPCA is deeply concerned that the youths repeatedly stated their reasoning for having sex with goats - avoidance of Aids. It is suggested that urgency be given to correcting such myths."

Goat farming 'suffering'

The SABC also reported that the practice affected goat farming in the area.

Sinah Musekwa, a goat owner, said nobody wanted to buy his goats any more.

"Since we've learnt that these rumours are true people don't want to be associated with these goats. No one wants anything to do with their meat or milk. I'm going to have to destroy my goats," he said.