Bill to Stop “Crush Videos” Sent to President Obama for his Signature

Posted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on November 29, 2010

The Senate, following the House, passed legislation on November 19th to ban the selling of videos that depict the abuse, mutilation, torture, and killing of animals. The Senate passed a “voice vote,” and the legislation is now on its way to President Barack Obama for him to sign. The narrowly written bill makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos showing animal cruelty, including depictions of animals being burned, drowned, suffocated or impaled.

Congress has come together after an April 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in which it overturned a defendant’s conviction under a similar 1999 law, 18 U.S.C. §48, finding that it was too broad and that it could allow for prosecutions outside its intended scope. United States v. Stevens, 130 S. Ct. 1577 (U.S. 2010). In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, there has been a resurgence of these loathsome videos – videos which had all but disappeared from the marketplace following the 1999 law. This new law targeting the market for these gruesome depictions would give law enforcement a much-needed tool for stemming the proliferation of these videos.

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