Animal Cruelty Depiction Upheld by US Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, April 20, that a 1999 law where the depiction of animal cruelty violates freedom of speech rights as guaranteed by the constitution.
The ruling was a blow for the federal government and animal groups such as the Humane Society of the United States. The vote was 8-1 with only Judge Samuel Alito dissenting.
The Supreme Court case is United States v. Stevens, No. 08-769. Robert Stevens of Virginia was convicted under the overturned law after he made and sold three videos of pit bulls fighting each other and attacking hogs and wild boars. He argued that he created the videos to provide educational information and not to promote illegal dog fighting, thus the premise of trampling his freedom of speech.
Wayne Pacelle, President of Humane Society, was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision. However, Pacelle said that is an experience that can be used as a base to enact better laws in the future.