Animal Cruelty Case Hits Supreme Court

Landmark case to decide 1st Amendment as it applies to cruelty
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 1:14 PM CDT
Animal Cruelty Case Hits Supreme Court
A female cat covered in duct tape from head to toe which was dumped in a yard in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo)

Animal cruelty takes the floor of the Supreme Court tomorrow, as the justices consider whether to overturn an appeals court judgment that allows the depiction of animal cruelty under the auspices of the First Amendment. The lower court wasn’t keen on animal cruelty, but found that our furry friends—unlike children, say—“would likely not suffer continuing harm by having their images out in the marketplace."

The primary case was of a dog trainer who sold videos, purportedly for educational purposes, which included dogs attacking pigs and each other. Interestingly, Newsweek notes, he was prosecuted under a 1999 law that was intended to quash so-called “crush videos,” made for fetishists who get off on the high-heeled death of small animals. If the court overturns the ruling, depictions of animal cruelty would join the likes of child porn as expression not protected by the First Amendment. (Read more animal cruelty stories.)

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