It’s no secret that the world isn’t always a nice place, but most of us are probably unaware of full extent of some of the dreadful acts practiced today. If cannibalism, necrophilia, bestiality, incest, mutilation, rape, castration, public flogging, stoning, and slavery continue to occur in our day, surely, we’d think, they must be the criminal acts of disturbed individuals.
In reality, each of these horrific acts is legal, even now, in various parts of the world. And we’re not talking about obscure, war-torn corners of the map, either. You might be surprised by what people can get away with in some countries.
Cannibalism is technically legal throughout the United States and several other countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom. However, to indulge one’s appetite for human flesh, a cannibal would first have to find a corpse for his meal, since murder is illegal.
In 2001, Armin Meiwes of Germany solicited a voluntary victim through a fetish website devoted to cannibalism. After they met, Meiwes killed the man and butchered and froze his meat to consume later. Arrested, Meiwes was found guilty of murder.
In another possible cannibalism case, Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 36, who’d been cast adrift in a storm with his fellow sailor Ezequiel Cordoba, survived at sea for over a year. Cordoba, 22, was not as fortunate. Unable to subsist on the raw birds and turtle blood that made up the men’s daily meals, Cordoba died, whereupon he allegedly became Alvarenga’s next meal. Cordoba’s family sued Alvarenga for $1 million “for eating their relative.”
Committing sex acts on the dead, or necrophilia, is likely to strike most people as horrific, but in some US states, it’s not illegal. As late as 2015, “adultery, sodomy, blasphemy, and the act of displaying an albino in public for hire” were illegal in Massachusetts. Necrophilia isn’t.
Representative Aaron Vega, 45, hopes to change that. He’s cosponsored a bill outlawing sex with the dead. His proposed legislation may have been inspired by a case in which three male grave robbers were arrested for unearthing a female corpse. Their motive, they admitted to police, was to have sex with the woman’s dead body.
Within the last six years, Denmark, Sweden, and a few US states have outlawed bestiality, or sex between people and animals. In some other countries, the act remains legal. In Germany, “erotic zoos” cater to the bizarre fetish, although intimate relations between humans and animals aren’t restricted to these “bestiality brothels.” A farmer became suspicious when his sheep avoided human contact, so he installed cameras. Men were photographed trespassing on his property to have sex with his flock.
The practice is also legal in Hungary, Finland, Mexico, and the states of Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In Alabama, 2014 legislation would have outlawed the act, but the governor vetoed it.