President Signs Bill to Stop Animal “Crush” VideosPosted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on December 10, 2010
President Obama signed a bill into law Thursday banning, once again, the sale of animal “crush” videos (depictions of small animals being crushed to death by humans for sexual fetish purposes).
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision (in U.S. v. Stevens) struck down a 1999 law that had prohibited the interstate commerce of these videos and other depictions of animal cruelty. The court found the law was overly broad and therefore an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
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.
In July, the House of Representatives, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, drafted a more narrowly tailored bill aimed at prohibiting crush videos in a constitutionally sanctioned manner. The bill, H.R. 5566, passed with almost unanimous support. The Senate followed suit in September, voting unanimously on a substitute amendment to H.R. 5566. In November, both the House and the Senate agreed on final language.
The more narrowly written law that emerged makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos showing animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury. It exempts depictions of veterinary and husbandry practices, the slaughter of animals for food, as well as depictions of hunting, trapping or fishing.
This new law–targeting the market for these gruesome depictions–will give law enforcement a much-needed tool for stemming the proliferation of these videos.
Thank you to everyone who called, wrote letters and spoke out to legislators in support of this very important legislation!