Skip to Main Content

Sad, Bad News From U.S. Supreme Court

Written by PETA | April 20, 2010
Producer / CC by 3.0

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as “overly broad” a law meant to ban the distribution of videos depicting illegal conduct such as “crush” videos, in which animals are slowly killed under a high heel or bare foot, and videos in which animals are forced to fight or tortured in other ways—but we fully expect the Court to uphold a narrower federal statute barring distribution of vile videos that depict indisputable cruelty to animals. The bill is already in the works. And in case anyone out there who takes pleasure in others’ pain is rejoicing, please take note: Abusing animals or inciting others to do so is still illegal and will result in jail time.

Caring people agree that video depictions of cruelty to animals should only be legal when their purpose is to expose—not promote—cruelty to animals. PETA’s undercover footage—which shows elephants as they are beaten by circus trainers, chickens as they are scalded to death in slaughterhouses, and snakes as they are skinned alive—truly motivate, rather than titillate, viewers and inspire them to get involved and help stop the suffering. Case in point: You and me. Tell us which PETA video inspired you (and then please do a good deed by forwarding it to someone who doesn’t realize what’s going on in the world).

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Ramesh117 says:

    Cruelty to animals should be illegal and therefore creating for the purpose of saledistribution of videos of actual acts of animal cruelty should also be illegal while distributing undercover footage for news and political purposes should be legal as well as simulated acts of animal cruelty should be legal. This is analagous to how it would be illegal to actually murder someone and record it for sale while it is legal to distribute news footage of someone being killed and of course legal to film simulated murder for entertainmentmovies. It all has to do with intent consent and purpose. Unfortunately the immoral selfish libertarian mindset is so ingrained in the foundation and framework of Western civilization that it affects all political and social thought left right and center. Freedom isn’t absolute and subtle distinctions MUST be made if we are to live in a moral and ethical society.

  • Jason says:

    Hello First time blogger. I personally find these videos that PETA puts up as disturbing as the videos distributed through out the public. But to deny them the right to have their materials distributed is to deny PETA the rights. Is that something that PETA is willing to do to itself. The laws are for everyone within United States and if PETA isn’t effected by this ruling for the Animal cruelty videos they distribute. Then It would be a crime in it’s own. I learned about the PETA website because a friend wanted to show me a video of a animal skinned alive. That action made the PETA website a equal participator in the distribution of animal cruelty videos. They might not have the same intentions as the other distributors but the same result comes from both. Will PETA allow it’s own videos to be banned with in the United States to get the Law passed?

  • david says:

    WHATTT???? CONGRESS why are you SUPPORTING and PROMOTING ILLEGAL animal cruelty? Answer me THAT. Cruelty towards animals is directly correlated to cruelty towards humans. Many practice both. They go handinhand. WAKE UP.

  • Barb Bush says:

    This decision grieves the holy spirit at a time when there is already too much death and destruction in the world.

  • Kelly says:

    This ruling scares the crap out of me.

  • Gina Clayton says:

    One of the saddest reports I have seen and still sticks in my mind was about a Chimp called Edith. She was really old and stuck in a disgusting old zoo with the owner refusing to hand her over despite much effort by rescuers. The photos of her sitting in the dirt and debris ridden concrete cage nearly bald alone and depressed has never left me. It was heartbreaking. I signed the petitions but I have never been able to find out what happened to her.

  • Molly says:

    The video that inspired me to change came from a Stumbleupon. I saw one of the videos of elephants being beaten in the circus and that was enough to get me active. About 3 days after the video I decided to go vegan. I could not stop doing research reading websurfing documentarywatching etc… about all the animals exploited for humans. I have become active and now look at and treat every animal I encounter like I would want to be viewedtreated. When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble. Buddha

  • Mocha says:

    It is helpful to see so many postings against this hiddious SP ruling. Like myself I think most people are asking WHY? How could this happen in our country? and What can we do to fight this and facilitate change? Toby you hit it right on…we need for our animal rights org’s to create a joint petition and give directives to as to where our letters of outrage will best be suited for change. A March on Washington is always an option too considering how many of us are concerned and ready to move forward with this. “Supreme” Court??? Heaven help us all…

  • Mocha says:

    It is helpful to see so many postings against this hiddious SP ruling. Like myself I think most people are asking WHY? How could this happen in our country? and What can we do to fight this and facilitate change? Toby you hit it right on…we need for our animal rights org’s to create a joint petition give directives to as to where our letters of outrage will best be suited for change. A March on Washington is always an option too considering how many us are concerned and ready to go forward with this. “Supreme” Court??? Heaven help us all…

  • David says:

    Those who would take pleasure in a “crush” film depicting such unspeakable cruelty to animals are probably the same sort who GOD FORBID enjoy “snuff” films in which young women mostly are killed. Both need to be aggressively prosecuted.

  • Cathy says:

    Toby you are bangon. It’s all well and good to go on about the crush videos which are sick and heinous but yet we continue to eat meat. When I watched Meet Your Meat and saw the horrible abuse and torture of innocent farm animals I woke up to the realization that killing and abusing animals on any scale is just plain wrong. Oh and since watching Meet Your Meat 2 12 years agoI haven’t eaten or put any animal products in me or on me and never will!

  • Jessica says:

    This is very sick and disturbing. Anyway you can provide Judge Roberts information so we can write a letter?

  • Tasheena Reymus says:

    The Government will do anything and everything to protect the Big Wigs out there. I agree we should start a petition to overturn this ridiculous decision!

  • Bella says:

    Yes there must be something we can do…??? Someone please tell me and I’m there. I am sooo outraged about this.

  • Joyce Small says:

    I would just like to say that the decision was wrong and those who abide by it will be very very sorry. Cruelty to those who can’t speak to us humans is evil. Just as cruelty to those who can’t defend themselves from us humans is evil. It doesn’t take a genius with a Harvard Law Degree to come to this conclusion. All it takes is the elevation of one’s spirit.

  • J. Bulman says:

    A suprisingly sloppy decision by the Supreme Court. We seem to be regressing in the animal rights direction. Repealing a law that prohibits those who get their jollies from watching animal fighting is archaic and disgusting. For shame.

  • ocean17 says:

    so the high court plays the “product” card and “courageously” green lights the marketing of horrendous and unbelievably cruel animal abuse videos as product. definitely an incompetent decision it is not surprising that the SCOTUS is only paying lipservice to the ideal of free speech. and ignoring the unbelievable cruelty and inhumanity involved with the making of animal abuse videos. i can hardly stomach this “wholesale” abuse of power and freedom.

  • jdmatta says:

    If we can pinpoint where this cruel garbage is being made a boycott of that nations products could bring this to an end or at least curtailed. I didnt know this existed. I was shocked sickened and livid for retribution.

  • G EVANS says:

    Once again it’s another law that’s a complete contradiction from the overpaid walking blood clots in the supreme court. a petition needs to be started to overturn this idiotic decision.normal thinking people know there is no difference between something like kiddie porn or these crush videos.abusing children or animals..IS THE SAME THING!! So it leads me to believe that scalia and these others with the exception of the one sane member who voted against it are either sunk too far into dementia that they don’t know right from wrong or one of em actually watches these videos at home!.

  • annie rogers says:

    Ooooh! this is scary this subject has no perplexing side issues and these people represent our u.s. supreme court? they do this because oh they can and they are the ones that have to go to bed at night without a clear conscience and did not stand up for the rights of animals and humans because as we know people who make and are in these horrible videos are the ones who end up killingraping molesting the innocent people and animals of this world and the united states supreme court just said hey that is ok.

  • Mary Ann Testagrossa says:

    My husband told me of this Supreme Court ruling last night and I was enraged and extremely saddened. What kind if person takes pleasure from the torture of another sentient being in pain. Only someone very sick and sadistic. This is truly difficult for me to believe that this ruling passed as law. What can we do to change it?

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    The video that opened my eyes was “A Cow At My Table.” It wasn’t produced by PETA but I bought it through the PETA site. The last scene with the body of the cow abandoned in front of the slaughterhouse and the arrest of the person filming the body is especially shocking.

  • John says:

    Many people don’t know that judge Sonia Sotomayer’s home Puerto Rico has some of the worst animal cruelty on the planet. It is sad to see her supporting animal cruelty. I expected better.

  • John says:

    We can all GO UNDERcOVER AND TRACK DOWN THESE DEALERS AND GET THEIR NAMES AND ADDRESSES AND MAKE THEM PUBLIC so the world knows what these degenerates are doing Let’s get them!! Most of them don’t report their income for taxes so report them to the IRS here httpwww.irs.govindividualsarticle0id10677800.html We cal all fight for the animals right from out computers

  • Sophie says:

    Are they serious ? Videos like that were the thing that motivated me to become vegan. If I hadn’t of seen videos like that I would have continued eating animal produce and going to circuses etc. And if my friends were interested in vegetarianism or veganism I’d simply show them one of those videos to explain. They should allow people who they know for certain that are going to expose those videos and not promote them to be allowed to show them.

  • BullyDawg says:

    I think though the law was struck down PETA should give special recognition to the sole dissenter Bush 2.0 appointee Samuel Alito yes I was surprised too for his eloquent and thoughtful dissent to the ruling.

  • Linda says:

    Imagine the strength of a powerful opposition to this ruling if a united front were created by the Humane Society of the United States The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and PETA to all together collaborate and work against this brutal ruling! There is strenth in unity!! And if each member of these proanimal organizations wrote their congressional reps submitted petitions and raised awareness online we could effect change just like proposition 2 in CA. Action is needed now.

  • Toby Saunders says:

    Meet Your Meat raised my consciousness.

  • Sanjeev Kale says:

    I do not agree with this decision. They need not have struck down the law itself but sent it back to the lower court with guidelines on its original intent. Or sent it back for a congressional rewrite so it can better guide prosecution. The law should have made it clear that it is depictions that are broadcast expressly with the intent of profiting from the abuse ie not those videos that expose abuse by PETA or the Cove etc. The argument for free speech is totally ridiculous. Try saying this in a child pornography case. Free speech is free speech I understand but come on has the court thrown all common sense out of the window? This is a serious matter and should not be diluted by hypothetical debate. When I read this decision I immediately thought about child pornography as an analogy. Incredibly Mr. Roberts revealed his lack of common sense by saying child pornography is a special case because the market for it is intrinsically related to the underlying abuse. Well good then Mr. Roberts maybe you can tell us how exactly are dogfight videos NOT intrinsically related to the underlying abuse? Dog fighting is considered to be one of the most serious forms of animal abuse not only for the violence that the dogs endure during and after the fights but because of the suffering they often endure in training. In what way wouldn’t the market and selling of these videos be not related to the abuse? As if people buy animal abuse videos for some other altruistic reason than to relish watching insane acts by insane and criminal people. Animals are exactly like children in this case helpless need our protection and cutting off funding to these markets will go a long way crush no pun intended the acts themselves.

  • Carol Patterson says:

    I am so outraged at the new Supreme Court ruling. Even a 4 year old knows the difference between “saying” and “doing” something. They have left the door wide open for the kiddy porn industry which touts the same argument. I have never before cried when I heard of a ruling but I did today. This is a very good reason for the argument that our present court system needs to be redone. If they are so out of touch with reality they certainly don’t need to be lauding over our lives. CP

  • emma says:

    when i was a child my parents had me sit and watch a video showing the clubbing of seals i am eternaly grateful to them because it made me the person i am today. my son watched your video of the chinese animal skin trade as awful as it was he couldnt believe what he saw and his projects at school are always with regard to animal cruelty he’s 12 and i am one proud mama. the undercover videos that “should” bring people to justice are for a reason to try to protect anything other than that is just plain cruel and unacceptable.

  • Jyll says:

    We need to start a petition for a repeal!!!!

  • Bill says:

    What sort of sick worthless cowardly disgusting piece of st could ever do such things?? When I hear about unbelievably atrocities like this I’m suddenly very glad we have lobotomies and the death penalty. Any person that could do such things to defenseless animals is extremely sick and EXTREMELY dangerous. Such a person would without a doubt be capable of doing such things or worse to you and your children.

  • mandi says:

    i saw a video about cows being drained of their blood a number of years agoi think it was for kosher meat or something…almost a year ago i went veg…so dont feel bad if the change isnt immediate these videos do have an affect D

  • Olivia says:

    There has to be something we can do!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kareana says:

    I met this guy. He’s a ‘vegitarian right now. but he’s working his way in to being a vegan.’ Are they the same? What’s the difference between a vegitarian and a vegan. Um me personaly I don’t really know what a vegan is. But I’ll probably have to ask him.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    The US Supreme court is occupied be elitists who are intransigent and revere our racist women hating slave owning Indian Killing and animal slaughtering founding fathers.

  • kristen says:

    What is the best thing to do about this? Contact our elected officials write to the Supreme Court? Or would the Supreme Court’s passage of this ruling have ultimately worked against undercover exposetype videos that document cruelty for the purpose of raising awarenessprosecuting animal abusers? On first reading of this story of course I feel outraged but I’m trying to understand the greater ramifications for animal welfare organizations like Peta so I know how to act constructively regarding this ruling. Can you please advise? Thank you.

  • Marta says:

    Perhaps one of the Supreme Court Judges likes to get walked on by someone with high heels and doesn’t seem to think it’s cruel and painful.

  • Mary Gust Thompson says:

    Can PETA start a petition to make sure that the sale of these videos are not legal? After what Justice Scalia stated today with regard to animal cruelty being acceptable I feel we need to stand STRONG! Is he out of his mind? I am so appauled. How dare he and the other Justices make this ruling!Where are these people’s souls?

  • Gerry Lykins says:

    Please PETA organize actions we can take… we need to campaign against this ruling. There MUST be ‘conservative’ animal rights people who will see there is NO JUSTICE in this ruling?

  • troller says:

    They struck down the law because they could. Isn’t it obvious?

  • Anonymous says:

    you can stop some of the ppl some of the time but you can’t stop all the ppl all the time! you got that CCF? you might have the money and the connections but we’ve got the numbers! this is not the end but merely a fork in the road.

  • ookkee says:

    The videos are horrible but motivating. I don’t wear fur and now I tell others how bad this is. People should know because many people don’t know the cruelty behind circuses fur meat etc.

  • Aneliese says:

    Why did they turn down this law? Why?

  • Vic G. C. says:

    Oh great. Now my video blog which contains the undercover footage you guys have of China’s fur trade is gonna be taken down by Dailymotion and my account there suspended same thing will happen if I upload the same vlog on YouTube I already have an account warning there. The U.S. Supreme Court really needs to rethink their ruling. Quick. Somebody get them some Valium.