The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed Rep. Elton Gallegly's animal crush video bill by a bipartisan vote of 416-3.
Crush videos graphically depict the abuse and killing of animals. In 1999, President Clinton signed into law a Gallegly bill to outlaw the videos and for 10 years the industry disappeared.
"Everyone agrees that these disgusting videos must be stopped. My first bill passed the House in 1999 by a bipartisan vote of 372-42 and by unanimous consent in the Senate and was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton," Gallegly told his colleagues Tuesday during House debate on the bill. "The Supreme Court ruled in April of this year that the 1999 law was too broad, but indicated it may consider a law that is more narrowly drafted."
The bill passed by the House today is designed to address the court's concerns.
"Based on the testimony of constitutional experts at the May 26th Crime Subcommittee hearing, I worked with members on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that is narrowly focused on prohibiting crush videos," Gallegly said.
After 10 years of being out of business, crush videos are back on the market, Gallegly noted, adding that it's important to have a strong, constitutionally sound bill to eliminate the market for crush videos for good.
The Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010 would prevent video depictions of drowning, impaling, burning and crushing of animals.
"Violence is not a First Amendment issue; it is a law enforcement issue," Gallegly said. "While the torture of defenseless animals is in itself despicable, numerous studies also show cruelty to animals is often the first step leading to violence against people. Ted Bundy and Ted Kaczynski tortured or killed animals before killing people. The FBI, U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice consider animal cruelty to be one of the early warning signs of potential violence by youths. This bill is one step toward ending this cycle of violence."
Gallegly's bill now goes to the Senate.