Free Speech vs Animal Crush Videos: Supreme Court to Decide

A law against selling videos of animal cruelty was overturned last year in favor of Robert J. Stevens and his dog-fight video business.  Steep increases in the number of available “crush videos” where small animals are crushed to appease a sexual fetish have prompted a request to the Supreme Court to make this unspeakable act illegal again.

The 1999 law signed by President Clinton made it unlawful to sell “crush videos” and nearly all depictions of animal cruelty.  Stevens and his lawyers utilized the First Amendment to convince the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia to reverse his 37-month conviction and strike down the law altogether.  The United States solicitor general has asked Supreme Court hear the case soon.


The most likely scenario under which the Supreme Court would re-enact the law would be that they include animal cruelty as a category wholly outside First Amendment protection.  Currently, the only such categories are fighting words, some kinds of incitement, obscenity, and, as of 1982, nonobscene pornography involving children.

While acts such as dog-fighting and animal cruelty are illegal, the selling of their depictions is not.  Clinton and Congress at the time recognized that allowing profits to be gained by promoting these acts would encourage their growth.  Before the law, “crush videos” were sold for $15-$300.  Despite the small size of the sexual niche, it was still considered profitable because of the low costs to produce them.

All that is needed to produce one is a video camera, a woman in high heels, and a kitten or a puppy.

If the Supreme Court is unswayed by the sadistic nature of these acts, it is likely that the practice will continue to grow and circulate across the country.

Image: Lastexit on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

16 thoughts on “Free Speech vs Animal Crush Videos: Supreme Court to Decide”

  1. who would even think of crushing small animals. anyone that even thinks about crushing a small animal is sick and have no life

  2. This ruling makes no sense whatsoever and it is just another sign of an either inept or corrupt supreme court. Last time I checked, first amendment rights do NOT apply to illegal activity, therefore they would not apply here. How can you legally make a video of something that is illegal. Maybe all these justices are sitting around watching this garbage and they just didn’t want it outlawed. And to the idiot above that said owners can do what they want to their animals..!! Yea right, just see how long you get away with that one you retard.

  3. You know what really makes me think?

    Well, how in the hell can killing an animal cause someone to feel sexually stimulated?

    In fact, you have to question these people. If a man rapes a woman because he enjoys “forcing” himself on her, or the struggle, or whatever, then how IS that any less psychologically twisted than being sexually stimulated by taking the life of an animal that indeed FEELS pain, and is pretty much made up of the same things as we humans are?

    If that is “acceptable” to watch, then it must be fine to watch “rape”. Two different things, sure, but then both are TWISTED sexual acts.

    These same people watching the “crush” videos and getting excited from it are, in my opinion, void from EVER complaining for other screwed up sexual acts. Simple rape being one of them (note I said rape, not rape and murder). You see, at least these “rape” movies people record on their mobile phones which often convicts them later on, doesn’t end with a death, right?

    And you know, humans are “animals” too. Cats have been shown to use tools as well. They just evolved differently.

    Murder is murder. Sexual turn on from murder and torture? Yeah, as I mentioned rape already I understand the psychological problems that causes, more than physical in most cases, but… I still stand by what I said.

    Enjoying watching murder and torture of a living animal (which we humans are as well) is the ultimate sexual fetish. It’s only bested by ONE thing, the murder of other humans and torture as well.

    Sick people watch these videos, even sicker people make them. And I hope these people actually die, but Isure as hell wouldn’t get excited and turned on watching them stomped to death.

    HOW can a person not be grossed out and feel “sick” by this? Just how? Seriously mentally sick people that the next step is murdering people.

    Little fact for you.

    Most spree killers and mass killers start off torturing animals, then they move to the next step up, humans. Nearly EVERY serial killer except 2 on the top 30 list had tortured and killed animals before they went on a killing spree.

  4. I fail to see how setting a puppy on fire then stepping on its neck in high heels can even be considered a form of art or expression.

  5. Does anyone out there know when this law is going to be decided?? I want to do everything in my power to make sure this act of disturbing violence towards animals is banned. Thanks.

  6. While most of us find the thought of these “crush videos” to be horrific, this is a straight-up 1st amendment issue. These videos should be legal. Just because we do not like images or words that others enjoy does not mean we have the right to make them illegal. Like it or not, animals are property, and the owners can do what they like with their property. If they are deemed as committing cruelty to animals, they’ll be charged, but beyond that these freaks should be allowed their rights.

  7. kay so who ever sells/ watches these videos are crazy and sick like forrel this is so sad how can someone actually do that i hate people who torture animals they should just go to jail! l

  8. Anyone who produces or watches “crush” videos should take a serious look at themselves and their lives. Cruelty to animals, whether performed or observed, is a telltale sign of a psychological or developmental illness. Anyone who finds this interesting really needs professional help and medication.

  9. It is NO longer SMALL animals.8/19/09 A adult with arms pulled behind its back,wired up mouth,being stepped and crused forover a hour by two young girls was viewed by many,on my space and facebook!! Youtube has people crushing babydolls with their feet video.this is feeding a sick foot feet fetish and mut be STOPPED NOW!!!

  10. You ‘save-all-the-animals’ folks obviously do not know what the Stevens case is all about. Stevens DOES NOT produce animal cruelty videos. His home was broken into at 5:30am, and he was arrested for producing TRAINING videos to prepare pit bulls for hunting. Hunting with dogs (e.g., pit bulls, hounds, etc.) is legal and accepted as an effective game management mechanism in most of the US as well as several parts of the world.

    I certainly do not condone blatant animal cruelty, but folks like you all need to read and accept the facts of situations (like the Stevens case) before you respond to eco-terrorist viewpoints on this website.

  11. that is not right thats so sad to see a person do that to them PS:i am a big fan of animals i have tried to be a vegatarian but i cant my recored is 1 month i cry about them all night!!!! ok i live at jordan and i just saw a poor dog he has no owner and he is shved and his fur is not growing back!!! sad i tried to help them my dad is allergic to them but i pet him kiss him and i have a heart full of him!!!!!!

  12. You people are dumb. The debate here is about the legality surrounding owning crush VIDEOS, which is a legitimate free speech question (at least in principal), not about actually crushing small animals. All 50 states already have laws on animal cruelty that make this blatantly illegal.

  13. What is even more amazing is that we can’t explicitly define this outside of the First Amendment already. Of course, the main issue is that key components of our legal system will have to be redefined in order to fully confront animal cruelty.

  14. I just cannot understand people wanting to do this.
    These so called people are lacking in development of the brain.
    They are worst than the animals themselves…one wonders what people like Darwin would have thought of these monstrosities we have spawned.

  15. Crushing of Puppies and Kittens for sexual pleasure? What the hell?
    I cannot believe that some person would even find that remotely satisfying. Perhaps we should find them and put a sharp high heel through their head! I have no complaints about fetishes, there are alot out there but why can’t they have a shoe, leather or relatively harmless fetish instead of submitting poor animals to such pain and death?

    Its sick, twisted and obviously the lawyers who even took the case in the first place are completely amoral.

    Why does society turn a blind eye to this?

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