Yesterday, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle voted in favor of H.R. 5566, a bill to make the sale of so-called "crush" videos, which depict acts of cruelty against live animals, a federal crime. Rep. Castle, a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, is an original cosponsor of H.R. 5566, which now awaits consideration by the U.S. Senate.
"I am proud to play a part in bringing a swift end to the trade of 'crush' films in which innocent animals are purposefully tortured for profit," said Rep. Castle. "Additionally, study after study has shown that those who engage in animal cruelty or recreationally view images of it are much more likely to become violent toward their fellow humans and display other dangerous, antisocial behaviors. Today's vote on H.R. 5566 was a vote to protect animals as well as our families, neighbors, and friends from horrific violence."
H.R. 5566 is designed to end the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, and impaling of puppies, kittens, and other animals for the purpose of peddling such videos over the Internet and in the marketplace for commercial gain. This legislation comes in response to the April U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Stevens (2010), which struck down the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act that passed the Congress in 1999. The Court ruled that the 1999 law might capture depictions protected by the First Amendment; however, the Court acknowledged the long history of animal protection laws in the United States and left open a pathway for Congress to pass a more targeted law aimed at extreme animal cruelty.
As a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, Rep. Castle has long been a leading advocate for the defense and humane treatment of animals. He has worked to pass legislation prohibiting horse slaughter for human consumption, protect primates, dogs and cats from invasive research, and led the initiative in Delaware to end dog fighting, a cruel practice that harms our communities by desensitizing our nation's youth toward violence. Most recently, he helped raise awareness of the Delaware SPCA's critical need for pet food and supplies during the summer months, a demanding time of year for animal shelters.