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Mr. GALLEGLY. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Conyers; my good friend, subcommittee chairman BOBBY SCOTT; and, of course, our ranking member, Lamar Smith, for working closely with me to draft a bill that would help put a stop to the sale of animal crush videos while, at the same time, addressing the First Amendment concerns that were raised by a recent Supreme Court ruling.
The district attorney of Ventura County, California, first brought this issue to my attention back in 1999. He explained that, although crush videos were illegal under State laws, the crime was difficult to prosecute because video producers moved their goods through interstate commerce to avoid prosecution.
The FBI, the 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 violent youth. The Boston Strangler, the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Ted Bundy all tortured animals before they began to murder people.
Everyone agrees that these disgusting videos must be stopped. My first bill passed the House in 1999 by a bipartisan vote of 372-42, by unanimous consent in the Senate, and was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. The Supreme Court ruled in April of this year that the 1999 law was too broad, but indicated it may uphold a law that is more narrowly drafted.
In response to the court's decision, I, along with my good friend Representative Gary Peters, introduced H.R. 5566, the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010. Based on the testimony of the constitutional experts at the May 26 Crime Subcommittee hearing, I worked with Members on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that is narrowly focused on prohibiting crush videos rather than prohibiting depiction of animal cruelty.
Immediately after the 1999 bill became law, the crush video business virtually disappeared. It has recently reemerged in light of the court ruling.
Quick passage of H.R. 5566 will once again stop these revolting videos that depict the torture of animals and killing defenseless animals.
I strongly urge my colleagues to join me in support of H.R. 5566.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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