At a White House ceremony yesterday, President Barack Obama signed into law the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 (H.R. 5566). This new law immediately prohibits the creation and distribution of so-called “crush videos,” and establishes a penalty of up to seven years in prison for offenders.
Crush videos appeal to sexual fetishists by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or wearing high heels. Although animal cruelty is banned in every state, it has been difficult to apply those laws to crush videos because they rarely reveal faces, dates or locations.
Last April, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law that would have banned the marketing of videos and images depicting cruelty to animals, saying it was too broadly written and infringed on the First Amendment right to free speech.
A new bill was created by congress members that defines crush videos as portrayals “in which one or more living animals is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, or impaled” in a way that would violate animal cruelty statutes. It specifically exempts the sale or distribution of videos showing hunting, trapping, fishing or any typical veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices.
The revised bill was approved last month by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
“The Humane Society of the United States commends President Obama for signing this bill into law and bringing an end to some of the most gruesome cruelty any of us have ever witnessed,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS, in a statement.
Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects, noted the potential for cruelty to animals to lead to crimes against people.
“By banning crush videos, our federal government is potentially helping to protect the community from other serious crimes and sending a clear message to individuals seeking to profit from the suffering of helpless animals,” he said in a statement today.
“This law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society.”