AAN Joins Amicus Urging Supremes to Overturn ‘Animal Cruelty’ Statute

Believe it or not, some people actually get an erotic thrill out of watching small animals getting stepped on. This particular fetish is so unusual that it appears that even Dan Savage hasn’t written about it. But that hasn’t stopped an enterprising group of entrepreneurs from exploiting the fetish by creating what are known as “crush films” — short videos depicting human feet trampling on insects and small animals.


That’s what the members of the U.S. Congress said, too, when they heard about the commercial market in crush films. Unfortunately, they also passed a law intending to ban such fare, but which threatens to criminalize a bunch of other good stuff as well.

For instance, according to an amicus brief (pdf) filed on Friday by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in U.S. v. Stevens, the law “compromises the news media’s ability to … expose the abuse of animals, participate in the national debate over the proper treatment of them, and cover commonplace activities involving animals such as hunting and fishing.” RCFP and the 13 media organizations that joined it, including AAN, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the statute violates the First Amendment.

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