Letters to the Editor

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COURT: Is animal cruelty free speech?

Letter by Jim Joy, University Place on May 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm with 9 Comments »
May 13, 2010 9:24 am

I would have only one question to ask President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan: “Is it acceptable in our country to sell videos depicting deliberate forms of animal cruelty such as animal crushing?”

Our current Supreme Court recently ruled that prohibiting such videos might somehow interfere with our right to free speech. “Solicitor General Kagan, what is your position?”

The administration wanted to add such depictions of animal cruelty to the current list of prohibited forms of speech such as obscenity, defamation or incitement. The effort was directed at videos that show women killing animals by crushing them with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes while the poor puppy or cat screams in excruciating pain. But our Supreme Court seemed to be more concerned with “free speech” than the suffering of a small animal.

Our Supreme Court doesn’t need more lawyers or law professors who come from a sterile academic world, a world in which real life experiences are limited to classroom debating. Their dispassionate and haughty arguments are not founded in the real world, the main street world.

So I hope that someone asks Kagan the question, “How can a so-called civilized people call the sick entertainment of animal crushing free speech? And please give your answer in a way that we common folk can understand your reasoning, and more importantly our young children can understand it.”

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. beerBoy says:

    Sheesh……it seems PETA strikes again…..

    Shouldn’t the concern be with Kagan’s potential rulings regarding torture of HUMANS rather than videos depicting animal cruelty?

    Oh yeah, PETA cares about all animals except, of course, homo sapiens.

  2. Mr. Joy:

    Thank you for your letter regarding the horrendous issue of crush videos and the Supreme Court’s ill-fated decision. Your comments are spot on. National syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker’s recent piece published here in the TNT sums it up nicely: Courts and citizenry MUST FIX this.

    My take? This is a cruelty issue not a free speech issue. I also think we have the right to question any supreme court justice or nominee on this issue and the rationale for making the ruling on this specific issue.

    To the reply above, of course we should be concerned with all potential justices for many issues. Good point. And yes, PETA gets a bad rap (obviously we know where your opinion lies) but that is not what’s at the heart of this letter. Whether you agree with animal activism or not, I think that we can all agree that this type of torture for entertainment purposes is really crossing the line of human morality and really, the laws of this country.

    Kim Thompson

  3. ItalianSpring says:

    Kagan is hot….. Not.

  4. Copper2Steel says:

    This Supreme Court ruling defies all logic.

    I agree with Kim Thompson who referenced Kathleen Parker’s column. The column was well written… and completely correct.

  5. Nobody did their homework again. Ms. Kagen is the Solicitor General and her comments regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling are evidence that she supported, if not presented, the government’s case. So the letter’s intent is moot. It would have been interesting to see her vote and that of Justice Alito on the same side.
    By the way, the ruling said that the current law was too broad and indicated that a narrower law could address the concerns most of us have.

  6. Perhaps the distinction between virtual representations of animal cruelty and actual animal cruelty escapes some of you – but there is huge difference between virtual and real.

    An injunction against animal slasher videos (which, like many of the slasher porn movies could well be proven to be hoaxes) would most likely include any anthropological sources documented animal sacrifice (would the bull sacrifice from Apocalypse Now make it equally verbotten?)

    And, Kim Thompson, if PETA didn’t grandstand so much with absurd gestures (like complaining about Obama killing a fly) then they wouldn’t be such an obvious and easy target – but then there would be no need for them as ASPCA already is a well-respected organization that fights for the prevention of cruelty to animals…

  7. Hi all:

    Last point first. beerBoy, you are right on PETA and the grandstanding on some issues. I am not a PETA member (though I was back in the early 90’s but left soon after as I felt there programs went way beyond the mark, just as you noted). I am an ASPCA contributor and I like them. They have some good info about the case we are discussing on their site. I also like your point on virtual vs. reality. There would need to be clear and conclusive evidence that real animals were injured or killed in the making of these videos. Now, WHY in the world someone would want to view these kinds of depictions real or otherwise, is beyond my comprehension (that’s really another discussion).

    Publico, I like your last point about narrowness of the law and the fact that there is some give into narrowing it to address the growing concerns. For a lot of us, just the sheer notion of these depictions hurt the heart. I think really, we are all on the same page (for the most part) that no one wants to see anything hurt. The beauty of it is the discussion and learning while you’re at it.

  8. Oh the above was me, Kim. Sorry about that.

  9. Plain & simple congress needs to overrule the supreme court & make these videos illegal with LONG prison terms for ALL participants who appear/pretend to be “human”.

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