The Humane Society of the United States was called to testify this morning at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the repugnant phenomenon of animal crush videos. Nancy Perry, HSUS vice president for government affairs, presented our case eloquently--you can read her testimony here to better understand what's at stake. She was joined by Dr. Kevin Volkan, a psychology expert who testified on the sexual nature (PDF) of animal crush videos, and she asked the Committee to enter into the record a powerful letter from the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (PDF) urging prompt Senate action to address the animal crush video problem.
Rarely has an issue united members of Congress across the spectrum like this one. The House already swiftly passed H.R. 5566 by a vote of 416 to 3 to ban interstate and foreign commerce in these abhorrent videos, which typically involve scantily clad women or girls often using stiletto heels to crush and impale animals to death for the titillation of viewers. On the videos, this torment is slow and deliberate, with the animals' cries featured, along with their excretions of blood, urine, and organs, and the sexually charged patter of the women inflicting the torture.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who plans to introduce a Senate companion bill to H.R. 5566 and who presided at today's hearing, noted that the hearing provided a model for how to conduct business in the Senate. No opposition was voiced, and a thoughtful discussion ensued. Curbing this despicable industry is something all reasonable people can agree is worthy of prompt congressional action. Sen. Kyl expressed his intention, working with Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., his colleagues in the Judiciary Committee, and primary House sponsor Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., to introduce a Senate bill that will effectively crack down on crush videos and hold up against any future court challenge.
We appreciate their leadership, along with that of Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and look forward to swift enactment of a new law to stop those who want to profit from this obscene animal cruelty, which Nancy aptly referred to at the hearing as "the stuff nightmares are made of."
This post originally appeared on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.