Apr 20, 2010

Supreme Court Says Animal Abuse Videos are Protected Speech (News)

It's very sad to me, that the Supreme Court of the United States thinks that promoting videos showing animals abused and tortured for entertainment is no different than posting a video saying you like one flavor of ice cream better than another.

This ruling, which came out today, strikes down a 1999 law outlawing the Internet sales of so-called "crush videos" - videos designed to appeal to a certain sexual fetish - that show women crushing to death small animals. The court says it's just free speech and anyone can enjoy as much animal cruelty as they like. Supreme Court strikes down law aimed at animal cruelty videos on free speech grounds
The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals, saying it violates the right to free speech.

The justices, voting 8-1, threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.

While free speech absolutists hailed this ruling as a great victory, it has disturbing undertones. Under the logic used for this ruling, will child pornography be classified as free speech soon? It wouldn't surprise me given the propensity of this court and it would follow logically from this ruling on animal abuse.

Child pornography is illegal because having sex with children is illegal. One cannot profit or otherwise benefit from an illegal activity in the  name of free speech. Likewise, animal abuse is illegal everywhere and so it follows that one cannot profit from this illegal activity by selling videos that glorify it. In both cases, one must first harm another being in an illegal manner in order to produce the materials that are sold.. However, with  this ruling the Supreme Court has reversed precedent and is now saying that such profiting from illegal activities constitutes protected speech, thus opening the floodgates to all kinds of  horrors and harm to others for commercial profit under the guise of free speech.

If you are not an absolutist, then you realize that all rights have their limits: Your right to do whatever you want ends at the point where the exercising of that right involves harming others.

The ruling leaves open, narrowly, the possibility of prosecuting the actual participants in such videos, if they could be identified. But thanks to John Roberts and his cohorts, selling animal torture videos is now a legitimate business.

Before this situation gets completely out of hand, all animal lovers need to contact their US congressman and both their senators and tell them that we need a bill that will stop these videos and prosecute the makers of them - one that the Supreme Court can't undo. They passed this law in 1999, they need to pass a FIX NOW.