The Supremes on Filming Abuse
HERD ABOUT IT?
by Ana Grarian
The Supreme Court of the United States this week, struck down a law banning videos that depict intentional animal cruelty. WTF? The court ruled that this ban violated constitutional free-speech rights. WTF? The bill was brought to ban something called “crush videos” where women in spike heels step on small animals to provide sexual titillation. Double WTF! The case before the Supreme Court involved videos of Pit Bulls attacking each other and other animals.
Seems like a slam dunk doesn’t it? Who would want to protect that kind of free speech? After all cruelty to animals is illegal. Twenty-five years ago the court created an exception to free speech protection in cases of child pornography. The mere possession/ distribution of such material can land you in hot water (or jail). So how big a step is it to banning the sale of video portraying this illegal activity? Ahhh. There lies the rub.
This law could also ban documentaries of such abuse.
I had sort of thought that might be the case. Then I happened upon the website of a livestock producers publication and saw they were upset with the decision not to ban these videos. So I did a search of their website and found a link to a response to a video on hog abuse.
If you have been reading my column you know that there was a recent expose of abuse on a Central New York Dairy farm
(Interesting that this video has been rated adults only and requires a sign in to see it.
Wonder how that happened?)
Some livestock producers and the publications and companies that promote industrial style agriculture are afraid that videos of industrial, confinement practices, will not sit well with consumers, and well it shouldn’t.
This court made a wise decision. The law needs to be rewritten more narrowly to address the problems of “animal torture porn” while allowing for video that exposes horrific practices and enables the public to be made aware of them and to express their opposition.
Information good. Torture porn bad.