Supreme Court strikes down Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act
The 1999 Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act was passed in response to outcry over the creation of so-called "crush" videos featuring the deaths of small animals.
While the prohibition of animal cruelty has a long history in American law, there is no evidence of a similar tradition prohibiting depictions of such cruelty.
See also: Cat Killing is OK as Art?
The government proposed that speech be subject to a "balancing test"; this approach was rejected by the court as incompatible with First Amendment rights. The decision was welcomed by free-speech groups.
In dissent, Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. said the act "was enacted not to suppress speech, but to prevent horrific acts of animal cruelty."
Animal cruelty activists hope Congress will pass a more narrowly-defined law forbidding the most objectionable works.
In the UK, such material is considered obscene; its production may also result in charges for cruelty and torture of animals.