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, mike@idausa.org

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi. _________________________________________________________________________________

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048

50 Comments on “In Defense Of Animals Slams Supreme Court Decision On Animal Cruelty Videos”

  • Joan Benn wrote on 20 April, 2010, 14:25

    The only person to get it right was Judge Alito, befofe we know it they the supreme court will allow the right to sell the killing of children on video. The liberals are sick .Who will speak up for the animals ,surely not Wasington. Where has common sense gone in this administration. Everyone hide your dogs and cats and maybe even your children. Oboma speak up for the rights of animals.

  • Marge Collins wrote on 21 April, 2010, 8:24

    The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the sale of crush videos and the like is almost as pathetic as the women in these horrendous videos. The humane treatment of living things is just as important, if not more so than our freedom of speech. What this decision says about our society is the pleasure of the perverted is more important than preventing the despicable cruelty of the animals. It is so disillutioning to think that our freedoms allow this to be considered part of our constitutional rights

  • DAVID wrote on 22 April, 2010, 11:41

    Absolutely ridiculous supreme court decision. Do these judges sit in a dark room. They absolutely have no idea what they are responsible for. Bogles the mind to think that these people are there to protect the innocent. Blindfolded, hands over ears, hands over mouth.. Lets all play..

  • nancy jones wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:27

    The logic of this decision is sick and twisted. And it is beyond disturbing that supposedly rational respected members of our Supreme Court can make their way to this decision through the law without regard to the morality of it. Possession for sale, buying and selling, promotes an industry. It begs the question, as stated, “what if these were videos of the murder of children, instead of the murder of animals?” Same crime, only victims have a different face, and even less of a voice.

  • Dr. Jeanette Shutay wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:29

    The people who supported this so called “right to free speech” are complete idiots and I can’t believe that we actually have these people sitting as judges in the Supreme Court. It blows my mind!!! It makes me wonder what they (the judges who allowed this to happen) do in their spare time. What a horrible and disgusting decision, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I believe that the use of these types of videos for entertainment should be a red flag, and those people who sell, purchase and/or watch these videos should be psychologically evaluated. I have honestly lost all hope and respect for our judicial system at this point!

  • Stacey wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:34

    Then it must also be legal to sell child pornography, since my freedom of speech is more important than the law against the crime. Maybe we should start with their animals, & children??

  • ioa wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:35

    I condemn all acts of animal exploitation as a vegan activist, YET I can’t help wonder what track we’d be headed down, had the court decided differently.

    How different, in the eyes of the law is someone displaying a dog fighting video and someone else displaying an undercover video of animal abuse in a research lab or factory farm? I don’t want my right to show a video taken away because it portrays illegal activities. On the whole I believe animals can be better helped by free speech, as disgusting as some peoples’ use of it is.

    Within the climate of AR activists being labeled (and prosecuted) as terrorists, I’m just not ready to give up more rights. The intent of outlawing dogfighting videos is good, but actual laws are too easily manipulated and it’s very difficult to regain free speech rights once they’re lost.

    I do hope that the court’s decision on this SPECIFIC case angers the public and sparks a debate about the moral bankruptcy of people who make and watch these videos. It is a much easier cause for the general public to sympathize with than say, factory farming or vivisection.

  • Patricia wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:44

    This is where the absolute letter of law regarding protecting free speech can get very perverse. It is so discouraging how the law can really work against us at times.
    p.s. Joan, your comment, “liberals are sick”, How dare you bring this important topic down to that base level. There is enough of that nonsense going on out there in the political circus right now, and it is taking all the public and legislative energy and focus away from important issues such as this. You know as well as I do that most animal rights laws and defenders are by WIDE margin democrats/liberals. So don’t even try to jump on to this band wagon singing that tune. Go peddle your small mindedness somewhere else.

  • Carolyn Riddle wrote on 22 April, 2010, 14:50

    I must agree with ioa. I think the problem with the proposed legislation is that it was poorly written. The justices comments indicated that it was too broad in scope. The truth is that the legislation would have prevented even legal depictions of any killing of animals, including those used by animal rights activists and TV shows like the ones on Animal Planet. The judges did however leave the door wide open to the banning of “crush” pictures. I am hopeful that the bill’s authors will draft a more specifically worded piece of legislation that will put an end to this horrible practice.

  • Anne wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:20

    What can we do about it? I cannot believe that another submission will have to be brought to the judges for consideration. In the meantime, how many animals will die a slow and painful death before these nitwits see the light!

  • Donna Szlosek wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:26

    I am horrified that the Supreme Court has allowed this. What kind of a people would allow this — not a normal, humane, intelligent person.

    It is scary that these judges that made this horrible decision are allowed to make any decision at all — obviously there is something drastically wrong here.

  • Al Stein wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:37

    Thank you Judge Alito for using COMMON SENSE, something obviously lacking with the other Ivory Tower type Justices. They are terribly wrong,but completely representative of the sick people who participate in these videos, and should probably be subject to the same legal punishment to those they have supported. Let’s see now–Animal Cruelty is illegal, but showing it is now O.K.—-what a sad commentary for a nation which used to lead the World in Moral Progress. Supreme and Justice are words that truly do not fit our warped ‘Legal” minds at the Court. This is a Traumatically Dark day for America.

  • christine davies wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:43

    President Obama step up to the mark now. Waste no more money on any court cases….SIMPLY BAN THESE VIDEOS AND PROSECUTE ALL WHO TAKE PART.This has nothing to do with human rights…….but everything to do with human wrongs….and this decision is as wrong as it gets! We, in the U.K. will watch with interest, your action in this matter.

  • AIDA wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:57

    I am shocked and horrified, The Supreme Court without a Heart…Do these people have animals or kids for that matter….We are getting to be a sick society this only makes it worse…How discouraging we go forward one year and back 10…This truly is a sad day for all that suffer in silence and need our voices to be heard…How do we stop the pain??? This truly opens up the Padonra’s box for video’s of all sort of sick torture of animals .Sold on the streets for profit…This is not the land of AVATAR anymore……

  • Louis Peluso M.Ed. wrote on 22 April, 2010, 15:59

    This Supreme Court (with the exception of Judge Alito) has put profits before humane decency. They have sided with criminals who perpetrate acts of barbaric cruelty, and have gone against the wishes of the majority of Americans, states Attorney Generals, and basic morals/ethics. But we must not be surprised at this politically activist Court, as they have sold every future election to foreign corporations in their unconstitutional decision in the case Citizens United. This Supreme Court is void of any ethics and responsible decision making when it comes to America’s Democracy. I look at this Supreme Court as a Court of Jesters. They are clowns in black robes masquarading as judges when in reality they are simple FOOLS. They have lost my respect and most likely the respect of a majority of Americans.

  • Kellin wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:08

    Re Ms. Benn’s comment, it was the Obama administration that argued before the Supreme Court against the videos. The administration agrees with you. Unfortunately, they lost their case.

  • Penny wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:11

    The person that blamed this ruling on liberals should think about that. This has nothing to do with politics. It’s about sociopaths being able to torture God creatures. Next it will be children. What were those judges thinking. Obviously THEY WEREN’T!!

  • Anthony wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:14

    The Supreme Court has no morals to permit evil people to profit off the cruelty to animals.

  • j. civis wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:25

    I find their decision to be totally irresponsible, cruel and without compassion for the innocent and voiceless of our society. What are we doing and where are we going in this country? I am so sick of the people who have no he art or soul of, not only the safety of our animals, but for the future of our children. If we are to protect them, we better start cleaning house and bring in decent honorable men and women who respresents our values.

  • elizabeth brooks wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:31

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged y how it treats its animals”…Gandhi….

    I think that pretty much says it all.

  • Michal Kessler wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:54

    As an animal rights activist I too was initially shocked and disappointed in hearing this verdict. HOWEVER, I was equally dismayed to learn that in all the years this law had been on the books, it had hardly ever been used at all! We need good, sound, strong laws in place to protect animals but without prosecutions, what good are they?

  • Karen Barry wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:55

    Obama is just like Sarah Palin, the only agendas they follow is to benefit themselves. What do children have for role models anymore? There are no more morals, values, empathy or common sense left in the world. The world and people in it are headed to hell in a hand basket. The devil sure has done a good job, but GOD, will prevail. I’m sorry if I used the word God, in a sentence. I realize it’s unconstitutional, But what about my freedom of speech? Perhaps, I could get away with being unconstitutional, using videos instead of penning it.

  • Richard W. Firth wrote on 22 April, 2010, 16:59

    And yet our First Amendment rights are violated if we try to protest hunting even on our own property. How screwball these judges are in interpretating that First Amendment from speech to the free exercise of religion.

  • Rusty wrote on 22 April, 2010, 17:09

    I always believed the Supreme Court was to represent the morality and social conscience of our country but this decision is appalling and is absolutely wrong. Freedom of speech is fine but if it inflicts pain and suffering on living beings, it should not be permitted. This is completely irresponsible and without any compassion for animals. They should all be shot at dawn and decent human beings should be put in their places.

  • Sharon Slocum wrote on 22 April, 2010, 18:30

    Where does FREEDOM OF SPEECH come into play when there are videos of executions via crushing, dog fighting, cockfighting, stripping animals while they are alive? This is NOT freedom speech. It is freedom to do the most dastardly of deeds. The judges are not judges anymore. They are PRE-judges, with their prejudices already preconceived in their sad little minds. Everyone better be glad this is not a communist country or a controlled country where your life is not your own. If it were otherwise, I would be among the first to have these inhuman, dispicable, not of Gods creation done away with. They are garbage and the judges are wallowing in the garbage of inhumanity. What a sad, sad thing we have come to.

  • Belinda Scarborough wrote on 22 April, 2010, 18:40

    This decision makes me SICK. How can these people sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror everyday. SHAME ON THEM. I hope and pray a new amendment can be passed to protect animals from being exploited, and show these crooks that their decision was plain WRONG.

  • Jaclyn wrote on 22 April, 2010, 18:49

    People have the right to do what they want in a democratic society as long as no one or anything gets hurt by those actions. In this case animals are being tortued which hurts the animals and anyone who wants to belong to a humane and just society. How is this fair? The judges of the supreme court should be videotaped having their asses kicked by everyone who opposes this decision. By their own ruling I should not be penialized for this. Therefore I will be first in line to buy a copy.

  • Vasu Murti wrote on 22 April, 2010, 21:12

    “I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other, and it’s very important that we have a President who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals.”

    — President-Elect Barack Obama, 2008

    John Stuart Mill observed, “The reason for legal intervention in favor of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves— the animals.”

    In his 1987 book, Christianity and the Rights of Animals, Reverend Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest, writes: “In some ways, Christian thinking is already oriented in this direction. What is it that so appalls us about cruelty to children or oppression of the vulnerable, but that these things are betrayals of relationships of special care and special trust? Likewise, and even more so, in the case of animals who are mostly defenseless before us.”

    The way we treat animals IS indicative of the way we treat our fellow humans. One Soviet study, published in Ogonyok, found that over 87 percent of a group of violent criminals had, as children, burned, hanged, or stabbed domestic animals. In our own country, a major study by Dr. Stephen Kellert of Yale University found that children who abuse animals have a much higher likelihood of becoming violent criminals.

    A 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) reported that children convicted of animal abuse are five times more likely to commit violence against other humans than are their peers, and four times more likely to be involved in acts against property.

    I like the comparison given by animal activists between “crush” videos and child pornography. I agree that neither should be permitted under the First Amendment in the name of “free speech.” However, (born) children have constitutional rights; animals do not (yet). Therein lies the dilemma.

    Pro-lifers sometimes argue that the unborn are part of our “human family” (whatever that means!) whereas animals are not. That argument is meaningless. My next door neighbors aren’t part of my immediate family, either — that doesn’t give me the right to torture or kill them!

  • maria Eugenai wrote on 22 April, 2010, 21:22

    Fortunately these criminals are fully identified, the sad news is the judge gave them a soft slap in their hands. These authorities are promoting cruelty toward animals plus cleaning the path for future crimes. How blind they must be that can`t see the the seriousness of this behavior and how corrupted maybe. For it`s widely known in Mèxico justice is a mith. I was happy to see, though how many people ptotested asking for justice. Good for the sensible people in NAYARIT that did this. This is the kind of citizens that make the difference. Gongratulations to all of them and my gratitude for defending innocent animals from evil beeings.

  • Sandi Walker wrote on 22 April, 2010, 21:29

    WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW….REBELLION BECOMES DUTY

  • elizabeth wrote on 23 April, 2010, 3:39

    This is just one more thing that shows me that these judges need to be kicked out. To take a very small amount of protection from these creatures from being tortured, we will now see this begin to happen everywhere. But the one thing they didn’t think about is, what about children in videos? I mean a person who abuses a child sexually can now put something up on the internet for others to see and then pled ‘freedom of speech.’ In my mind they have now opened a can of worms to anyone or I should say anything to be shown on the internet. I hope they are happy with themselves, because all I see is our government stinks, now these judges are right up there with the best of our government!

  • Tina Max wrote on 23 April, 2010, 4:55

    Hats off to Judge Alito. He is the only humane justice of the bunch. This activity would never be allowed for children. Animals always take a back seat to humans. The US government has a poor tract record anyway for animals. Horses executed in the wild, mititary training on live animals, killing of wolves and other predators who dare to come in contact with livestock, sonar used in whale habitats and so on and so forth. Also, the government wastes billions and trillions of dollars on crap but there is never any money to fund shelters or sick animals. The funds must be raised privately which isn’t always predictable. I am getting off the subject matter but this decisions is an obsene decision. Even Justice Ginsburg voted with the majority, who I understand is an animal supporter. Perhaps the law is overly broad but if so it should be updated as soon as humanly possible. I no longer have any respect for the Supreme Court Judges, a bunch of whimps, except for Judge Alito. It showed a man with courage who stands against the majority for what he feels is the right thing to do. Tina

  • Sherry wrote on 23 April, 2010, 7:01

    So, the judges are saying that animal cruelty, dog fighting, cock fighting, etc., and depiction thereof of pre-meditated murder is quite alright in their eyes. I guess I’ve been seeing and hearing things that people were locked up for this crime! Oh, excuse me, now they don’t see it as a crime! Guess they better let go all the sadists and murderers, and people involved in such, as they are saying they did wrong by putting them behind bars in the first place! But truly, by their own actions, these judges on the almighty Court, should be the ones behind bars, for the safety of humanity and animals!

  • Maureen Woods wrote on 23 April, 2010, 7:07

    I don’t get it? What is the difference between this and child porn? Animals like children are innocent victims, are they not? It is illegal to fight, crush and torture animals! It is also illegal to have sex with children!! It is illegal to make videos of sex with children!! So it should remain illegal to video or take pictures of animals being violated!!!! Ridiculous!!!!! Will ruling change the child porn laws?? “Yes, its illegal to have sex with children just not illegal to post or sell videos of the sex acts!!????!!!!!???”

  • Lily wrote on 23 April, 2010, 11:23

    If animal cruelty and abuse is a crime penalized by law, the producers of these videos are co conspirators of a punishable crime. They should be punished for aiding in the commission of a crime and give up the names and locations of the perpetrators. The Supreme Court is now rewarding criminals under the disguise that they are defending the Constitution? They are breaking the law, period.

  • Maryann wrote on 23 April, 2010, 11:31

    OK people, my husband and I have been sick about this since we heard about it ! we have been cussing the judges and whatever–as you all have-. What we have to do is come together and work toward getting a tighter legislation that WILL PROHIBIT this type thing. I too am in anguish over how long that might take–especially since about 200 pieces of legislation passed in the House is now stacked up in the senate because GOP are requiring 60 votes to bring it out on the floor for discussion-and of course, will not give Dems the votes-to even discuss it!! For those blaming President Obama ( well, why not -everything else is blamed on him) –try reading KELLIN’s post upthread. It is the Obama administration that brought this before the court—but they lost! I’m hoping Judge Roberts is not playing politics-because it seemed like he was putting a lot of emphasis on protecting hunting videos.–The bigger picture here, in my opinion, is not to fall for making this a political issue so that it divides us into inaction. this is a MORAL issue! Let’s unite with petitions, e Mails, phone calls,whatever we can do to SOLVE THIS not just talk about it !!

  • Cindi wrote on 23 April, 2010, 13:52

    Does anyone know who to call, write to express outrage about this? Next they’ll make legal to sell rape videos and snuff videos, because someone getting aroused is more important than the suffering of a living being, human or animal. This country gets sicker and sicker by the minute.

    Sandi – can I quote your saying, I love it!

  • Jack Suconik wrote on 23 April, 2010, 15:37

    WE MUST NOT MAKE A SCARECROW OF THE LAW,
    SETTING IT UP TO FEAR THE BIRDS OF PREY, AND AND LETTING IT KEEP ONE SHAPE TILL CUSTOM MAKE IT THEIR PERCH, AND NOT THEIR TERROR.

    SHAKESPEARE

  • Deanna wrote on 24 April, 2010, 8:05

    Sick, sick, sick. When I first heard the news on NPR 3 days ago I thought I had surely heard wrong, and that the news reporter had accidently worded the story wrong….wrong, a pit-feeling came over my stomach. This makes me angry that such a ruling was handed down. Let’s organize a protest at the Supreme Court Bldg. Civil disobedience is our right and our duty.

  • DEBRA WARRENS wrote on 24 April, 2010, 9:30

    I AM AN ANIMAL ADVOCATE!

    I WILL BE THEIR VOICE WHEN THEY ARE SILENCED. I WILL GIVE THEM A VOICE WHEN THEY HAVE NONE.

  • NINA Q wrote on 25 April, 2010, 2:15

    WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW….REBELLION BECOMES DUTY i AGREE 100%

  • pasquet wrote on 25 April, 2010, 4:16

    stop it

  • Bev wrote on 30 April, 2010, 15:12

    What the hell????????????  This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing – what the hell are people thinking??? Leave these poor unfortunate creatures alone for pities sake. Geeez ! I mean animals are exploited enough. Humans get every last molecule out of animals before theyre done making money from them. Good god, isnt live skinning, seal hunts, horse racing, slaughter houses, circuses, zoos or experimental laboritories enough for the general population??? It is such a sad way of things. We should be so grateful to these animals that we share the planet with. And to cows & sheep & chickens, we should be very grateful that they can share milk, wool & eggs with us & put them on a pedestal & treat them like kings. But I guess anything without a voice is subject to those with power. Even children.  I hope that the american congress will get off their bums & stop taking large amounts of money from the companies (as donations) that make these movies. Stop thinking of urselves senators & start thinking about the animals! Not the votes, not the bribes, or the pros & cons…get with the right program & do the right thing for once. 

  • Jon Katz wrote on 4 May, 2010, 7:38

    Without question, crush films and crushing are horrible. I am a strict vegetarian lawyer who has blogged on this case: http://katzjustice.com/underdog/permalink/VeganLawyering..html .

    The Supreme Court needs to move in the direction of overprotecting rather than underprotecting expression. We need to scrap the libel laws (which are sometimes used against animal rights protestors), obscenity laws (which were used to prosecute Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl”), and all other laws that are incompatible with the First Amendment. Opposition to this Stevens case would just push forward more chipping away at the First Amendment.

    Thanks for listening. Jon

  • Kim Hogan wrote on 9 July, 2010, 19:25

    I agree with Abraham LIncoln: “This country, with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” We cannot back down on the issue of animal rights, lest we damn our own souls to the darkest depths imagineable.

  • Lisa F wrote on 4 November, 2010, 23:17

    With all horrid treatment of animals and our enviornment we as humans deserve every horrible thing Mother Nature has to offer, Karma will get us and we are just cocky enough to wonder why it’s happening.

  • Lindy Eduarte wrote on 23 November, 2010, 17:05

    Are you kidding me with this bullsh*t??? First amendment rights…bullsh*t..You mean to say they are perfectly allowed to put anything on video ..no matter…because to NOT let people do that would be an infringement on their rights…??? Are you plum crazy…who the hell cares about the rights of idiots who make these horrid videos and then actually show them on around the world….because they CAN??? Get out of my face..Use your common sense Judge and whoever else gives a heads up to this crap…first amendment baloney…that is what I have to say….so there.

  • Marsha Andrews wrote on 10 May, 2013, 20:16

    There must be a secret sect in the administration that are psychopaths. It’s the only thing that makes sense, and they get to protect themselves legally. Scary indeed.

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