UPDATE: On June 23, 2010 the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved H.R. 5566, Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010. The bill now moves to the floor for consideration by the full House of Representatives. AWI will continue pushing for immediate action on this important legislation.
Members of Congress and constitutional experts testified on May 26, 2010 before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the recent Supreme Court decision invalidating a law prohibiting interstate commerce in crush videos, dog fighting videos, and other depictions of extreme animal cruelty. (Crush videos portray scantily clad women in stilettos, or even their bare feet, literally crushing, stomping on, or impaling small, helpless animals to satisfy sadistic viewers with a bizarre sexual fetish.)
When this law was passed in 1999, at the request of prosecutors, the market for crush videos quickly dried up. The Supreme Court took up the case of an individual challenging his conviction for selling dog fighting videos, and overturned the law on grounds that it was overbroad and violated the First Amendment.
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, the crush video market reopened. Two bills, H.R. 5092 (with 306 cosponsors) and H.R. 5337, have been introduced to restore the ban in a way that will pass constitutional muster.
"The Animal Welfare Institute is grateful to Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking Member Louie Gohmert for holding this hearing to explore the constitutional issues raised by the Court’s decision," said Nancy Blaney, senior policy advisor, Animal Welfare Institute. They and the other members who attended asked very serious and thoughtful questions, with a clear interest in crafting a new law that will accomplish the goal of closing down the production of depictions of extreme animal cruelty and punish those who traffic in them.
AWI lobbied for the original law and will push for quick passage of a new measure. The Washington, DC law firm of Patton Boggs LLP is providing legal advice to AWI as we work with the Committee and Members of Congress on this important legislative measure.
The Animal Welfare Institute has been working to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by humans since 1951. Please join us in our work to protect animals – visit our website to find out more and to sign up for AWI eAlerts: www.awionline.org.
Nancy Blaney or Chris Heyde, (202) 337-2332