While Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) thanked his House colleagues for once again passing his animal crush video bill, he noted that the technical change demanded by House Democrats made it unlikely that the bill would be signed into law this year.
"Nearly everyone agrees that Congress must stop the creation and distribution of videos that graphically depict the abuse and killing of animals," Gallegly said. "My bill to outlaw crush videos passed the House in July by a 416-3 vote. The Senate passed a slightly modified version in September by unanimous consent. But instead of passing the Senate version, the House today passed a resolution agreeing to the Senate version--but with an unwarranted amendment that makes it unlikely the bill will become law this year."
The House amendment would strip language that makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to seven years in jail, to attempt or conspire to create or distribute a crush video. Under current statute, it is already a federal crime to conspire to violate any federal criminal law, with punishment up to five years in jail. Therefore, stripping the wording from the Senate version of the bill will have little impact.
Gallegly's bill now heads back to the Senate. The Senate has made it clear they will not have time to revisit the bill during the lame-duck session, meaning the bill is probably dead for this session of Congress.
Gallegly first passed a crush video bill into law in 1999. Signed by President Bill Clinton, the law effectively shut down the crush video industry. After recent federal court rulings that the 1999 law was too broad, however, crush videos are back on the market.
"Cruelty to animals is often the first step leading to violence against people," Gallegly said. "While the torture of defenseless animals is in itself despicable, by allowing these videos to be widely sold, Congress is potentially putting human lives at risk.
"I will continue to work with the Senate to pass the bill this year in the few days left in the lame-duck session. If we are unable to reach agreement, I'll be back with a bill in January."