In Defense Of Animals Slams Supreme Court Decision On Animal Cruelty Videos
Animal protection organization says cruel videos already returning to internet thanks to Court
San Rafael, Calif. (April 20, 2010) – In Defense of Animals (IDA) today denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty as entertainment. IDA also urged Congress to immediately craft a replacement bill that can pass the Supreme Court’s First Amendment analysis.
The case throws out the conviction of Robert Stevens, who sold videos depicting dogfighting, which is illegal in every state. Stevens was convicted under a 1999 law passed to ban the sale of “crush videos,” in which women crushed to death small animals, to satisfy the sexual fetishes of internet customers. Crush videos virtually disappeared from the internet following passage of the law, before the government initiated a single prosecution. The Bush Administration’s indictment of Stevens in 2004 was the first time this law was used.
The majority said the law was overly broad, prohibiting certain videos that the Court believes need First Amendment protection. “In this 8-1 ruling, only Justice Alito got it right,” said Dr. Elliot M. Katz, a veterinarian and president of IDA. “This law was intended to prohibit some of the most depraved forms of animal cruelty, and it worked. The Court’s decision tells young people that vicious cruelty like dogfighting can be fun, entertaining, and profitable. This goes against the efforts of so many humane societies and millions of caring people across the country.”
IDA noted the Court’s specification that a more narrowly written law, addressing only crush videos, would pass muster. “We call on Congress to quickly pass a law prohibiting only crush videos, and then we can argue later about broadening that to include other depictions of extreme animal cruelty,” said Dr. Katz. “But we can’t help asking why the Court felt dogfighting videos need more protection than crush videos. Twenty-six states and millions of Americans agreed with the Obama and Bush Administrations that videos depicting animal cruelty for entertainment should be treated like child pornography.”
IDA joined Justice Alito in expressing concern that this decision is leading to a return of crush videos. “Already, following the Third Circuit’s decision that brought this case before the Supreme Court, crush videos have returned to the internet,” said Dr. Katz. “Cases like this have immediate consequences that can only lead to more cruelty and abuse. Real animals will suffer and die in horrific ways because the Court has declared that animal cruelty and suffering can be sold as entertainment. This case is a huge step backward for the evolution of a humane society.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Elliot M. Katz, 415-448-0075; Mike Winikoff, firstname.lastname@example.org
IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048
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