Animal-crush-video ban is upheld by 5th Circuit; obscenity restriction helps save law
Posted Jun 16, 2014 8:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A federal appeals court has upheld a federal ban on animal-crush videos that restricts its reach to “obscene” depictions of animal cruelty.
The New Orleans–based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the law does not violate the First Amendment, report Legal Times and ABA Media Alerts. How Appealing links to the opinion (PDF).
The law bans videos if they are “obscene” and they depict animals that are “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” The law specifies it does not apply to the slaughter of animals for food; hunting, trapping or fishing; or customary veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices.
The obscenity requirement was among the restrictions added after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a prior version of the law in 2010 on the grounds it was overbroad and violated the First Amendment.
The two defendants who challenged the new law were prosecuted for creating and distributing a video showing the killing of a kitten, puppy and rooster. Prosecutors said one of the defendants recorded the video and the other, a scantily clad woman, uttered phrases such as “You like that?” as she tortured and killed the animals. The case is United States v. Richards.
What we get out of this? If animals are involved, it’s abuse and illegal..if only people are involved but it’s highly deviant, it doesn’t matter. We certainly are not saying we are for torturing of animals—but the law is an HSUS deal that was improperly eventually used to take down Mr. Stevens and his historical purview on history of dog fighting, and that case was seriously struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as overbroad (plus a lot more…) HSUS just loves to say that animal “abuse” is obscene, so they can regulate it to the hilt (and thus bring in more proceeds or donations of course..)
HSUS also attempted to make “violent” videos off limits for kids to watch unless parents somehow allowed them to do so– the U.S. Supreme Court also struck down that law as both overinclusive and underinclusive since the law only targeted videos but not cartoons, movies, books, magazines, etc. In other words, the Bambi movie (just an example) would be illegal because it had “depictions of animal abuse” even if it was not real, and obviously the video games were not real events.
Maybe HSUS drafters have never watched prime time TV or various videos online, or even just snippets of movies shown online rated PG? Maybe HSUS has not noticed that society loves to watch violence, killing, zombies, vampires, supernatural and the whole nine yards of gore galore and deviant behavior left and right? This has been the case for at least 20 years and has become even more so since the movies are online.