In a rather shocking decision to animal lovers across the United States, the Supreme Court voted 8-1 to invalidate a law that prohibited individuals from profiting off of videos of animal cruelty. That’s right, it is now perfectly legal to sell and profit off of videos of animal torture now that the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act has been deemed unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito was the lone dissenting vote. The Chicago Tribune reports.
Now call me naive, but before I saw this story, I had not known such things existed. Sure I’d heard of dog fighting, but reading in-depth I learned there is a whole industry built around pictures and videos of animals being tortured. Without getting into any gruesome details, the term used is Crush Porn. If you think real hard, you can probably figure out what is going on in those horrific displays of humanity. It is incomprehensible to me that there are people in society who receive joy from watching an animal suffer in such cruel ways.
Over the last couple decades, animal lovers have made great strides in educating the public and passing laws to prevent cruelty. Studies have shown that those who are cruel to animals are likely to be violent to people. This is especially the case when it comes toward violence toward women and children. We also have data that suggests many serial killers started their evil ways by practicing on animals. Simply put, there is a strong correlation between animal abuse and violent crimes that impact us all.
Now I’m a big fan of free speech, even that of speech I don’t agree with. But I don’t see how something that is patently illegal, not to mention immoral and evil, can be legally sold for profit. We don’t allow individuals to sell videos of sexual assault, so why should this form of pornography that tortures another living creature be allowed? It would seem that this act should fall under the same guise as child pornography which is not afforded constitutional protection.
But I don’t have a law degree and I’m certain that the eight esteemed Justices had a valid legal reason for overturning this law (although I do wonder if they are pet owners themselves). While this is a setback to those who wish to rid the world of these materials, it’s not permanent. There are forces at work to ensure that these people are never allowed to profit off this again.
Representative Elton Gallegy (R) from California (the one who introduced the first bill in 1999) has introduced H.R. 5092 which is a bill that gives a narrower focus. This should appease the Supreme Court. While I know our two political parties can’t seem to agree on anything these days, lets hope they can find some bipartisan support for this bill. It is necessary to pass it quickly as some animal rights groups have pointed out that the Crush Porn industry has started a revival after an earlier Appeals Court came to the same conclusion as the Supreme Court.
If you’d like to see this business put under again, please contact your representatives and tell them you want them to pass H.R. 5092 as soon as possible. The Humane Society of the United States has put together an easy to use form to help.