After <u>Stevens</u> decision, Congress must enact narrower statute banning crush films

After Stevens decision, Congress must enact narrower statute banning crush films

Jeffrey S. Kerr [General Counsel and Vice President of Corporate Affairs, The PETA Foundation]: "Crush fetish videos, which this law was enacted in 1999 to prohibit, are made for a niche market of individuals who derive sexual satisfaction from watching animals being tortured and slowly killed. The intent of the Founding Fathers in drafting the Bill of Rights was to reduce the likelihood of oppression, and the First Amendment was meant to protect the exchange of ideas and open discourse. It is not in the spirit of the Constitution to allow or encourage gratuitous depictions of torture for sexual gratification or profit, which is why, in 1982, the US Supreme Court ruled that child pornography was not protected by the First Amendment. Similarly, shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater isn't a protected expression. These actions offer no benefit – and only cause harm – which is why crush videos and other gratuitous depictions of cruelty to animals should remain illegal.

Allowing these videos to be distributed can incite harm by encouraging others who are inclined toward violence to engage in cruel and felonious acts – for the camera or otherwise. Given the well-established link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans, it is clear that animal abuse, as well as its gratuitous depictions, must be stamped out at every turn for the sake of the community's safety.

While the Supreme Court did not argue with the fact that forcing dogs to fight and crushing animals to death for sexual gratification are illegal activities, it did rule that the wording of the particular statute under which a man was charged for distributing videos that depicted cruelty was overly broad, meaning that now the legislature must immediately draft a new law to protect the public and animals while also protecting free speech."

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