“Crush video” law overturned

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2008:
PHILADELPHIA–The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
on July 18, 2008 held unconstitutional the 1999 federal law that
forbids selling videos of cruelty to animals. Passed in response to
videos depicting women and transvestites crushing small animals with
their feet, the law was used just once, to convict Robert J.
Stevens of Pittsville, Virginia, for selling videos of dogfighting
and “hog/dog rodeo.” His conviction was reversed by the 10-3
“Usually, videos and photographs are protected as free
speech, even if they show illegal or abhorrent conduct,” explained
Los Angeles Times staff writer David G. Savage. “But in 1982, the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sexual depictions of children could be
prosecuted as a crime despite the 1st Amendment. Government lawyers
said the animal cruelty law should be upheld on the same basis.
However, wrote Judge Brooks Smith for the majority,
“Preventing cruelty to animals, although an exceedingly worthy goal,
simply does not implicate interests of the same magnitude as
protecting children from physical and psychological harm.”

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.