September 15, 2009
Crush Videos Make a Comeback
Shows need for federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Law
With the U.S. Supreme Court set to consider the constitutionality of a federal anti-animal cruelty law on Oct. 6, The Humane Society of the United States revealed the results of a new investigation showing a recent resurgence in the same horrific animal "crush" videos that sparked the law's passage a decade ago, now once again widely available on the Internet as enforcement efforts have been hindered.
The enactment of the Federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Law in 1999 halted the proliferation of animal crushing operations, and has also been used to crack down on commercial dogfighting operations, in which the animals often fight to the death for the amusement of viewers. The HSUS' most recent investigation shows that since the law was struck down by an appellate court last July, crush videos have re-proliferated on the Internet in response to the court's ruling.
"The federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Law is the only tool available to crack down on this horrific form of extreme animal cruelty," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "We wouldn't allow the sale of videos of actual child abuse or murder staged for the express purpose of selling videos of such criminal acts, and the same legal principles apply to despicable acts of animal cruelty."
"More than 10 years ago law enforcement in my district alerted me to the problem of thousands of 'crush videos' on the Internet. To combat these perverse videos that show horrific acts of animal cruelty, I introduced the Depictions of Animal Cruelty Act and it was enacted into law in 1999 with strong bipartisan support," said Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif. "HSUS' investigation revealing the widespread proliferation of crush videos since the law's legal challenge makes the need for the this sensible but strong federal animal protection law perfectly clear."
The videos and photographs show women, often in high-heeled shoes, impaling and crushing to death puppies, kittens and other small animals, catering to those with a fetish for this aberrant behavior.
The HSUS recently conducted extensive Internet research and undercover email communication to ascertain the availability of small animal crush videos for sale on the Internet. The crushing videos were easily available for purchase and horrifying in the cruelty inflicted on the victims. The password protected part of one website had 118 videos for sale. The videos were of small animals, including rabbits, hamsters, mice, tortoises, quail, chicken, ducks, frogs, snakes, and even cats, being tortured and crushed. The animals were burned, drowned, and had nails hammered into them.
Videos ranged in price from $20 to $100. Each of the videos for sale contained footage of multiple animals, translating into hundreds of small animals being tortured and crushed to death for the profit-making of this one website alone.
Undercover investigators also established contact with another crush website and were offered for sale 12 crush videos featuring rabbits. Another website contacted offered for sale 17 mouse crush videos.
"We wouldn't allow people to sell videos of people actually abusing children and raping women, and for good reason. It's vital to protect the community from the violence that flows from those who perpetrate such inexcusable crimes," said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. "The same legal principles apply to the malicious acts of cruelty revealed by The HSUS' recent crush video investigation. We do not tolerate illegal animal abuse, and we should not tolerate those who profit from it."