Humans And Animals. Hard To Tell One From The Other Sometimes

“Crush videos.”

Until today, I have never heard of them.

I wish I could still say that.

A crush video usually consists of a women, using her feet, sometimes bare, sometimes with high-heels, crushing a small or baby animal until it dies.

Apparently, the sight of this gets some “people” sexually aroused.

Words can’t describe just how depraved a person’s life must be that this level of inexplicable brutality would satisfy some heinous void they carry inside.

Under a law passed in 1999, it was illegal to sell these videos.

Until yesterday.

The Supreme Court ruled, 8-1, with Samuel Alito the dissenting vote, the law unconstitutional as an infringement of free speech.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Still hope for passing an “extreme animal cruelty” law

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos depicting dogfights and other acts of animal cruelty, saying it is an “unconstitutional violation of free speech.” The justices concluded (in an 8-1 decision) that the scope and intent of the decade-old statute was overly broad.

Chief Justice John Roberts argued that Congress had not sufficiently shown that “depictions” of dogfighting were enough to justify a special category of exclusion from free speech protection.
The specific case before the court addressed tapes showing pit bulls attacking each other and other animals in staged fights. This case marked the first prosecution in the United States to proceed to trial under the 1999 law.

Although the ruling is considered a major defeat for the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups (plus the 26 states that supported upholding the anti-cruelty law), the Court acknowledged the “long history” of animal protection in the United States and left open the question of whether a more targeted law aimed at “extreme animal cruelty” would be constitutional.

Congress now has the opportunity to draft a more narrowly defined statute to crack down on the sale of videos featuring illegal acts of animal cruelty, including crushing of small animals for sexual gratification and dogfighting. (An HSUS investigation had previously uncovered an underground subculture of animal crush videos in which puppies, kittens and other small animals are stomped, smothered and pierced to death, often by women wearing high-heeled shoes.)

According to the HSUS, there were once approximately 3,000 crush videos available in the marketplace selling for up to $300 apiece. When Congress enacted the 1999 anti-cruelty law with overwhelming bipartisan support, that market all but disappeared. But following a federal appellate court’s July 2008 declaration that the law is unconstitutional, crush videos once again began and continue to flourish on the Internet.

In conjunction with its decision, the high court dismissed the conviction of Robert Stevens, a Pittsville, Virginia man who calls himself a “journalist and author” who sold videos through his business, Dogs of Velvet and Steel. According to court records, undercover federal agents discovered that he was advertising his tapes in Sporting Dog Journal, an underground illegal dogfighting magazine.

Stevens was charged in 2004 with violating interstate commerce laws by selling depictions of animal cruelty and was sentenced to 37 months in prison. (Michael Vick, who ran an illegal dogfighting ring, was only sentenced 14 months.) This sentence was promptly appealed and has now been put on hold.

Several media organizations supported Stevens, saying that they were worried the federal law could restrict reports about deer hunting and depictions of bullfighting in Ernest Hemingway novels. (Ed. Give me a break.)


Today, Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., James Moran, D-Va., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and more than 50 other Representatives introduced H.R. 5092 in response to Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Stevens. According to the HSUS, “this narrowly-crafted statute is designed to end the intentional crushing, burning, drowning and impaling of puppies, kittens and other animals for the depraved purpose of peddling videos of such extreme acts of animal cruelty for the sexual titillation of viewers.”

While I am a zealot for free speech, I am an ardent animal lover.

If it were possible, I would “crush” every God damned animal abuser alive.

This law can’t be passed soon enough.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all…

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