Congressman Applauds Clinton's Signing Animal Cruelty Legislation Into Law

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - A Republican congressman from California is commending President Clinton for signing legislation banning "crush" videos - sexual fetish videos that show women crushing rodents and other small animals with spike heels or bare feet.

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), sponsored the legislation to outlaw crush videos. In a statement released Friday, he said most people had never heard of the videos before he introduced his bill. He said he acted after the crush videos were brought to his attention. "It's a new, but quickly growing industry," he said. "Hopefully this law will end it."

The House passed Gallegly's measure in October and Senate approval came in November.

"The speed with which this bill sailed through Congress says a lot about the recognition that cruelty to animals is a deep societal issue. Most experts now recognize that those who kill or torture animals often will progress to harming and even killing fellow human beings. This is one step toward ending this cycle of violence," Gallegly said.

Gallegly explained what's shown on many of those videos. "Animal cruelty tapes sell for up to $300, and more than 2,000 titles are available. "They feature kittens, hamsters, birds and even monkeys that are taped to the floor or a glass table while women, sometimes in spiked heels, sometimes barefooted, slowly torture and crush the animal to death. Taking the profit out of selling animal cruelty videos will curtail the trade."

In a statement from the White House, President Clinton said the law established federal criminal penalties for the creation, sale or possession of "a depiction of cruelty to animals" with the intent to distribute it within the United States or overseas.

However, Clinton said the law makes exceptions for works of "serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value. The act would prohibit the types of depictions of wanton cruelty to animals designed to appeal to a prurient interest in sex."

Gallegly said a 1991 study at a domestic violence shelter found that "71 percent of the women reported situations where their abuser had threatened of actually killed the family pet. Thirty-two percent of the sheltered mothers reported that one or more of their children had abused animals."

Gallegly noted that serial killer Ted Bundy and Unibomber Ted Kaczynski also tortured or killed animals before killing people. He said the FBI, US Department of Education, and the US Department of Justice consider animal cruelty to be one of the early warning signs of potential youth violence.