Wednesday morning my inbox was flooded with e-mails from animal welfare agencies and friends decrying the Supreme Court decision to legalize the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty. The case, United States Versus Stevens, challenges a 1999 law that made it illegal to create or sell videos depicting animal cruelty.
I’ve written about animal cruelty in the past, and while none of it makes sense to me. I just could not wrap my brain around this case.
The case concerns Robert Stevens, who was convicted by a Pennsylvania jury for violating a 1999 federal law banning the sale of videos showing extreme and illegal acts of animal cruelty. Stevens was caught selling videos of pit bull fighting. He said his videos provided “a historical perspective on dog fighting.”
I didn’t know there was one–or that the sport (do you call it a sport?) has changed over the years. In all honesty, dog fighting is an act of violence. Stevens was found guilty and was sentenced to 37 months in jail. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down his conviction, and yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court.
In my post, I quoted Laura Allen, Executive Director of the Animal Law Coalition. She states: “Possessing these films may not hurt the animal any longer, but that misses the point. The animal is harmed so that the film can be made and then sold for people to possess and watch it. Those possessing these films are actually supporting the creation of more of these films and more animal cruelty.”
Free Speech Versus Animal Rights
In a vote of 8 to 1, the majority said the law was too broad, and if it’s allowed to stand, it infringes on our First Amendment Rights. Tell that to the dogs, cats, and other small animals in these videos.
The only dissenting vote came from Justice Samuel Alito. He put the rights of animals ahead of freedom of speech. People who make, sell, and purchase these videos donâ€™t care about freedom of speech. They care about profits at the expense of animals. The Supreme Court is protecting the people who create, sell, and buy these videos.
Justice Alito wrote that the animals in these crush videos “are living creatures that experience excruciating pain.” He also noted that striking down this law will likely spur a resumption of crush video production. Crush videos are too sickening to believe. They involve animal torture for sexual pleasure. Yes, there are some sick folks out there.
You Can Make A Difference
Please sign this petition, which will be forwarded to your Congressional representatives, and pass it on to all of your friends, family, and colleagues. Thanks to all of you for reading and helping the animals!