Though its satire is aimed at the titular tech hub in California, Silicon Valley spends a notable amount of time taking jabs at the sex lives of its central male quintet. However, the sex scene in the last episode, while it indeed involved Richard, contained copulation between a pair of quite non-human horses. And as you might have imagined when you watched it (assuming your imagination was still functioning), the scene’s horsing around drew some negative attention from PETA. The “arranged rape” comment kind of negative attention.
Steps were taken by the HBO comedy’s producers to make sure that everything involved with the scene went above board, including having someone from the American Humane Society present, as well as a veterinarian and the experienced horse wranglers. But PETA didn’t have a problem with the horses being put in danger of death, and the offense comes from the nature in which the mating was forced upon the animals.
It may seem fun, but the mares are tethered during the process with no means of escape and the stallions are put on a lead rope and dragged to the mares to be mounted. Neither the stallions or the mares have any choice, it's assembly line breeding for profit. And it’s not as if they are making families — the foals of top Thoroughbreds will often be separated from their mothers very early on and raised by nurse mares and the stallions who are treated as if they are nothing more than money-making genetic pools for the racing industry. There's an overpopulation crisis in racing as most horses will not win races, and are therefore discarded and sent on hideous journeys by truck in all weather to Mexico or Canada to be turned into meat.
The statement, sent to TheWrap, says that such “arranged rape” has occurred since American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown. It’s a strong argument to make against a scene that would have seemingly been more offensive for showcasing an animal’s erect penis, and the subject of animal mating is a hot topic among certain communities. It’s also a topic that I have absolutely no say in, so I will neither chastise PETA for their criticism nor champion Mike Judge for putting horses boning in the background of a scene.
But I’m also not going to deny that it was a damned successful way to create a strange tone for a scene wrapped around a conversation that wasn’t all that weird or funny on its own. Check it out below.
PETA has been known for keeping interesting ties with the entertainment industry, sometimes in more extreme ways than others, but rarely has anything like this resulted in major changes. All in all, this is still way better than that other time people had problems with HBO over horses. Who knows what else is coming in Silicon Valley’s future that will cause offscreen drama? Find out when it airs Sunday nights on HBO.