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Today, the U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval to legislation to ban the creation, sale and distribution of obscene animal crush videos, the culmination of an intensive effort that began on April 21 of this year — the day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal cruelty depictions statute that we helped to pass in 1999. The original law, nullified by two federal courts as overbroad and an infringement on free speech rights, had effectively dried up the market for these sickening videos.
In the wake of these court rulings, however, creators and purveyors of crush videos stepped into the void and resumed their gruesome commerce, appealing to people with a deviant sexual interest in these videos.
We worked with a bipartisan host of congressional champions to narrowly tailor the new measure so it would be able to withstand a constitutional challenge while effectively cracking down on this horrific abuse. At The Humane Society of the United States, we operate every day under the protection of the First Amendment, but we also know that stomping on or setting fire to animals is not a form of speech, but reckless and cruel conduct that has no place in our society.
We just sent out a press release a few minutes ago. Now this critical legislation goes to the desk of President Obama. We are urging him to sign it without delay.
It’s a day for all of us to celebrate. The people who perpetrate this malice and cruelty will soon be on the wrong side of the law again, just where they belong.