If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Congress has heeded this advice, and voted to ban so-called crush videos, which depict animal cruelty, often with women killing small animals to satisfy some strange urge of the viewer. More specifically, the ban applies to the selling or distribution of crush videos, not to their production. It's heading to President Barack Obama for his signature.This is the second time around for this sort of congressional action. In 1999, Congress issued an outright ban, but the Supreme Court earlier this year said no way, deciding that the law was a violation of First Amendment free speech protections.
For outdoor lovers who want to record their hunting exploits, the legislation makes exceptions for films depicting hunting, trapping and fishing.
One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan, said:
"Animal torture videos are barbaric and have no place in a civilized society. By promising to lock up the people who produce and distribute these videos we can work to put a halt to this horrendous practice."
What to Make of the Crush Law
Crush videos, from what I understand, have been difficult to stop or prosecute because they often don't show face or locations. This anonymity will surely prevent prosecutors from making a clean sweep of guilty parties when they decide to act.
Given this identification problem and all of the new technologies that make distribution easy and fingerpint free, it's hard to see how a law like this will have much of an effect.
It seems at best to be a symbolic law, but maybe the Feds, armed with a new authority, will use it to crack down on these horrible videos.
Animal cruelty is a societal sickness that should be confronted, whether it's in crush videos or factory farms. Perhaps after the legislators behind this bill enjoy the PR benefits from it, they can begin to more closely examine what is happening down the street, in factory farms across this nation.
More information on stopping crush videos is available here.