WASHINGTON – Videos appealing to a sexual fetish by showing women killing small animals will be banned under legislation that cleared the Senate Friday and is heading to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The voice vote in the Senate followed a vote in the House on Monday to ban so-called crush videos that depict the abuse and killing of animals.
Congress banned such videos in 1999, but the Supreme Court earlier this year struck down the law, saying it was too broadly written and violated First Amendment free speech protections.
The more narrowly crafted bill going to the White House makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos that violate bans on animal cruelty by showing animals being burned, drowned, suffocated or impaled.
"Animal torture videos are barbaric and have no place in a civilized society," said Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., one of the House sponsors. "By promising to lock up the people who produce and distribute these videos we can work to put a halt to this horrendous practice."
Crush videos typically show women, often barefoot or wearing high heels, stomping small animals to death.
Every state bans animal cruelty, but it has been difficult to apply those laws to crush videos because they often do not show faces, dates or locations. The legislation makes interstate sale of such videos a crime subject to fines and imprisonment.
Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., a sponsor of the original bill in 1999, said in a previous statement that another reason to ban the videos was the tendency in some people to transfer cruelty to animals to cruelty to humans. He cited the cases of famed killers such as Ted Bundy and Ted Kaczynski, saying they tortured or killed animals before killing people.
The legislation makes exceptions for films depicting hunting, trapping and fishing.
The bill is H.R. 5566.