House Passes Bill Banning Animal Crush VideosPosted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on July 27, 2010
Good news from Congress: last week, the House of Representatives voted 416-3 to pass the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010, which would prohibit the sale and distribution of crush videos in interstate and foreign commerce. As readers of this blog know, animal crush videos contain depictions of small animals being crushed underfoot for the sexual gratification of the viewer.
This new law, which must still pass the Senate, is a response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision this past April in U.S. v. Stevens. In Stevens, the Court invalidated a 1999 law that prohibited the sale, possession, and distribution of any depiction of animal cruelty that lacked serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value. By a vote of 8-1, the Court held that the old law was overbroad and swept up too much constitutionally protected speech, such as hunting videos. The Court left open the possibility that a more narrowly tailored law could be found constitutional. This new law is Congress’s attempt to craft a law that sidesteps the concerns the Court raised in Stevens.
This new law is essential, because recent investigations by the Humane Society of the United States have shown that crush videos are on the rise in the wake of the Stevens decision. Hopefully the Senate will act as quickly and decisively as the House did to once again criminalize the commercial exploitation of animals in crush videos.