Animal Rights

Kitten Crush? Is That Like Puppy Love?

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New York Times legal columnist Adam Liptak notes that the Supreme Court is likely to hear the federal government's challenge to a decision in which a federal appeals court concluded that a 1999 law making it a felony to sell depictions of animal cruelty violates the First Amendment. The law was aimed primarily at "crush" videos, in which women use their bare feet or spike-heeled shoes to injure and kill small animals. As testimony quoted in the House committee report on the legislation put it, "these depictions often appeal to persons with a very specific sexual fetish who find them sexually arousing or otherwise exciting." Yet the law is broadly worded, prohibiting the creation, sale, or commercial possession of audio, video, or still photographs of "animal cruelty" that is illegal in the jurisdiction where the material is created, sold, or possessed. The defendant in the case that the solicitor general wants the Supreme Court to consider, which is the first such case to go to trial, was arrested for selling videos of dogfighting and of pit bulls attacking pigs and boars.

As Liptak notes, the law covers footage even of conduct that was legal at the time or in the place where it occurred. The dogfighting in this case happened in Japan, where the sport "appears to be legal," and in the United States in the 1960s and '70s. Videos of bull fighting in Spain, bear baiting in Russia, or even hunting out of season likewise could be grounds for felony charges under the law. There is an exception for material with "serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value," but how the government would determine which depictions qualify is anybody's guess. As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh tells Liptak, "what constitutes serious value is very much in the eye of the beholder." So it's not surprising that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled in 2007 that the law is unconstitutional. Volokh predicts that if the Supreme Court hears the case it will agree, by a large margin and perhaps unanimously, declining to recognize a new category of speech that, like obscenity, threats, "fighting words," and incitement to "imminent lawless action," is completely outside the protection of the First Amendment.

I'm not a dogfighting fan, and the crush videos sound pretty appalling. Still, it seems obvious to me that merely distributing a record of offensive conduct, even when the conduct itself is illegal, should be permitted. In any case, what does it say about our political culture that Congress felt it necessary to prohibit the sale of videos showing cruelty to animals but has not passed a law attempting to suppress the traffic in videos of cruelty to people?

The 3rd Circuit's ruling is here (PDF).

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  1. Hey, anything to put an end to that awful PeTA propaganda.

  2. Disgusting, but not illegal.

  3. I fully suuport prohibiting child porn that involves minors in the production, and generally support anti-animal cruelty statutes.

    Let me think about this one for awhile.

  4. The videos in question are no doubt disturbing, but then so is Nancy Grace.

  5. If the filmmaker led to any of the cruelty (such as paying an entrance fee, or worse, hiring people to hurt the animals) they should be punished severely.

    Just selling the images is not cruelty, however.

  6. And I say this as one of the seemingly rare libertarians that is strongly pro-animal rights.

  7. Speaking for myself, I like kittens more than I like most people.

  8. Animal Planet and their ASCPA cop shows – Felon?

    As disgusting as I might find the vidoes, I find anything that can be construed as a potential expansion of animal “rights” troubling.

    As others have noted, can we deal with not treating humans like shit first?

  9. “In any case, what does it say about our political culture that Congress felt it necessary to prohibit the sale of videos showing cruelty to animals but has not passed a law attempting to suppress the traffic in videos of cruelty to people?”

    I thought that’s what the laws against child pornography essentially were.

  10. “In any case, what does it say about our political culture that Congress felt it necessary to prohibit the sale of videos showing cruelty to animals but has not passed a law attempting to suppress the traffic in videos of cruelty to people?”

    Don’t go there or it would be illegal to video the police. Oh, wait…

  11. I’ve thought about it while ingesting a drug that improves my cognitive abilities i.e. smoking a cigarette. IANAL and will not go into how well the law was written, but in general I’ve no philosophical objections problems with the law.

    That congresscritters could find more productive use of their time and resources goes without saying.

  12. …I find anything that can be construed as a potential expansion of animal “rights” troubling.

    Why?

    As others have noted, can we deal with not treating humans like shit first?

    Is compassion a rivalrous good? If not (and I really can’t see how it would be) how does concentrating on not treating animals like shit in any way diminish efforts to not treat humans like shit?

  13. If the filmmaker led to any of the cruelty (such as paying an entrance fee, or worse, hiring people to hurt the animals) they should be punished severely.

    Just selling the images is not cruelty, however.

    And I say this as one of the seemingly rare libertarians that is strongly pro-animal rights.

    You’re not as rare as you think. And I completely agree with what you said. But it seems obvious that there is no need for this particular piece of legislation, tougher animal cruelty laws combined something like providing material support for the commission of a crime should cover that nicely.

  14. “these depictions often appeal to persons with a very specific sexual fetish who find them sexually arousing or otherwise exciting.”

    Does that include the Sears Catalog?

  15. Disgusting, but not illegal.

    It is disgusting and appers to rightly be illegal and should be illegal.

    Animals are people too.

  16. Still, it seems obvious to me that merely distributing a record of offensive conduct, even when the conduct itself is illegal, should be permitted.

    Care to expand on this, Jacob? As others have mentioned, can’t the same thing be said of child pornography? Does being a libertarian now mean making it legal to sell child pornography as long as you are not the one engaged in it?

  17. Elemenope,

    Is compassion a rivalrous good? If not (and I really can’t see how it would be) how does concentrating on not treating animals like shit in any way diminish efforts to not treat humans like shit?

    Only cruel monsters could disagree with you.

    Remember, if someone is making “profits” the monsters on this board will be for it.

  18. As others have noted, can we deal with not treating humans like shit first?

    Is compassion a rivalrous good? If not (and I really can’t see how it would be) how does concentrating on not treating animals like shit in any way diminish efforts to not treat humans like shit?

    thats right, the “what about the ______ people why don’t you take think about them first?”, is about the stupidest argument in this debate, I only have 100 Compassion Manna, if use that up on the animals, I wont have any left for the people

  19. Speaking for myself, I like kittens more than I like most people.

    I, too fall into this group.

    ——-

    And people become sexually aroused by scenes of dogs attacking pigs? I’ll be glad when the Yellowstone Caldera lets go.

  20. I am glad they were not talking about Sea Kittens. I do not like them tortured either, but I do like them prepared humanely with a bit of wasabi, ginger and soy sauce.

  21. I’d say your moral compass is on display. If its degrading, inhumane, and sadistic its okay as long as its legal. Are you a Stormfront fan as well?

  22. Care to expand on this, Jacob? As others have mentioned, can’t the same thing be said of child pornography? Does being a libertarian now mean making it legal to sell child pornography as long as you are not the one engaged in it?

    I actually think that the case of child pornography and that of animal cruelty media are very closely analogous. They are both produced with the involvement of an agent that lacks the simple capacity to assent to its production, i.e. it is literally exploitation, in the sense of a theft of non-tangible goods from a vulnerable agent.

  23. Animals don’t have rights, as they cannot make moral judgements.

  24. As testimony quoted in the House committee report on the legislation put it, “these depictions often appeal to persons with a very specific sexual fetish who find them sexually arousing or otherwise exciting.”

    How is this relevant again? Is wantonly causing suffering to a living thing just fine and dandy as long as no one gets their rocks off to it?

  25. last time I checked, people are animals (not bad, or evil, or viscious – I mean mammals, and mammals are animals. Also, soylent green is PEOPLE, but I digress). So any depiction of “animal cruelty” would mean most Hollywood films are in violation of the statute?

  26. Animals don’t have rights, as they cannot make moral judgments.

    Animals have rights because *we* can make moral judgments. Rights do not depend on the entity that is in question, they depend on the moral agency of the person with the capacity to harm them.

  27. Animals don’t have rights, as they cannot make moral judgements.

    Neither can a one year old human. Does that make them stiletto fodder?

    In human children, libertarians already recognize a category of entities that don’t have full freedom — as adult humans do — but also are not totally at the disposal of another, as property is. There’s no reason we can’t put animals in this gray area as well (though obviously with lower levels of protection than children have).

  28. Animals don’t have rights, as they cannot make moral judgements.

    Fail, on many points.

    Many people (infants, severely retarded, senile) have rights even though they are incapable of meaningful moral judgement.

    Animals do have rights under the law. Not all animals, and not many rights, and you may not like it that way, but they do. Animal cruelty is illegal, and although there are a ton of exemptions (religious, scientific and educational), basically you can do jail time

    Also, this isn’t just about the animals. If you look at the case histories of serial killers and other major psychos the all have history of animal torture. So even if you don’t care about animals, anti-cruelty laws ultimately protect you by making it easier for us to get the psychos off the streets.

  29. Tulpa,

    Thanks, that was the response I was going to give to back up Elemenope.

  30. Oops.

    …basically you can do jail time for wanton cruelty against a housepet.

  31. How is this relevant again? Is wantonly causing suffering to a living thing just fine and dandy as long as no one gets their rocks off to it?

    On a related note, I’ve never understood why things that stimulate you intellectually (i.e. things with “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value”) are considered inherently more valuable than things that stimulate you sexually. I think if you compare how much money the adult entertainment industry raked in last year to how much art film houses raked in, you’ll see where our values truly lie.

  32. Animals should have more rights than say, a piece of furniture but fewer rights than humans.

  33. Animals can be treated with compassion without “running out”, per se, but this is about the application of taxpayer funds to adjudicate an issue around the treatment of animals. So opportunity costs and cost escalation occurs in what is a far lesser issue (IMO) than those involving people.

    LMNOP,
    While I object to cruelty and ostracize those who practice it, government’s role regarding animals should be in the realm of property rights.

    We do not hold that all animals are created equal but we have been heading down a road of some being more equal than others.

  34. Animals should have more rights than say, a piece of furniture but fewer rights than humans.

    Capitalist slave trading monster.

  35. While I object to cruelty and ostracize those who practice it, government’s role regarding animals should be in the realm of property rights.

    Just like your other slaves?

  36. My view of rights is:
    Normal people > children (age dependent) > retarded people = animals = children (age dependent) > children (age dependent).

    Even if something is dumb and incapable of higher thought, hurting them isn’t okay.

  37. libertarian democrat –
    I largely agree with you, but can’t selling the content be seen as contributing to the market for the good, thereby inciting more animal cruelty?

  38. lib dem, are you a vegan or do you think it’s OK to eat retarded people and some children?

  39. Reinmoose: Yes, I guess it could be. But, I think that the material could also be used educationally to make people less likely to do it. The elimination of animal violence video (or whatnot) is not something I would spend my time fighting, but as long as the people are not contributing to the violence I think it should be legal.

    Tulpa: No. I think it’s okay for them to work though.

  40. This is troubling.

    First, who the hell would want to deliberately harm an animal? Something obviously ain’t right with those that do. I am reminded of Ivan the Terrible’s penchant for throwing dogs from the Kremlin Tower, for fun, as a young boy.

    Second, we must distinguish between the production and the dissemination. I agree with Jacob.

    Third, we should examine our own individual practices with respect to animal cruelty. Many, if not almost all of us, have consumed animal products as part of our diets. Unless one is eating exclusively vegetarian, one has been the final participant in a cruel process. I know that some of the utilitarians will scream that I am being unreasonable-but they will not be able to logically argue that I am being inconsistent.

    I do think that a more enlightened species would never kill an animal unless it was in self defense. Dining at Outback is not a prerequisite to maintaining life.

  41. LurkerBold-

    If you are not a complete vegetarian, you are skating on thin ice.

  42. My previous ranking is missing a > other animals at the end. (Dog > tick, for example).

  43. libertymike,

    Oh, I have to conform precisely to your Imperialist stereotypes in order to have any credibility here?

    Spare me the lecture.

  44. I think an animal can be raised and executed more or less humanely, libertymike. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but from my perception, the market in grass-fed, free range, humanely treated meat has grown in the past 5-10 years, and the egg market for humanely treated chickens significantly so.

  45. “Still, it seems obvious to me that merely distributing a record of offensive conduct, even when the conduct itself is illegal, should be permitted.”

    Be careful with the implications of this statement, Mrs. Ruwart.

  46. “Animals don’t have rights, as they cannot make moral judgements.”

    If there were no evidence for this uniquely human adaptation you seem to have discovered (or maybe you’re a creationist?), I’d wonder if human evolution were a bunch of baloney. Our common ancestors should have had something of a remedial ethics.

    But recent studies have suggested that chimpanzees have a sense of inequity and dogs have a sense of fairness. Female chimps will actually shun males who hog all the food, and they won’t do tricks for treats unless they get the same treat they saw another chimp get.

    For dogs, the quality of the treat doesn’t matter, so long as they get paid something. …after they’ve seen another dog get something for doing a trick, that is. Otherwise, they’ll stop responding to the command.

  47. But I agree, now that I think of it, with whomever called me out above on comparing Nancy Grace to kitty snuff films.

    Nancy Grace, in her own way, is much, much worse.

  48. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

  49. Gandhi, I agree. Luckily, America has a fine and vibrant barbecue sauce industry.

  50. The “crush” videos are not under attack because anyone thinks that animals should have a modicum of protection or rights. It’s because it’s disgusting, and that, to me, is what should disturb the libertarian impulse all the more.

    People are after this because it’s reprehensible and an easy target, but anyone talking about animal rights is going to look silly so long as millions of cows are run down chutes and have their heads lopped off every day.

  51. Shitty law. If I take a video of something legal in one jurisdiction, you can be charged for possessing the video in another jurisdiction where the conduct is illegal. Does that make any real sense to anyone?

    It also makes possession of video evidence of a crime against animals illegal to possess, unless there’s an exemption in there. Kinda backwards, isn’t it?

    The child porn aspect aside, I am not aware of a similar law for people. I can watch videos of morons committing crimes to actual persons all day long and there is no law against it, is there? Why do videos of animals deserve special consideration under the law?

    Also, what compelling government interest is served by this law? We already have laws against stomping small furry creatures, right? So why an additional law against disseminating the pictures? Yeah, it’s evidence that somehow, somewhere, a crime was committed, but unless we’re going to apply our gambling standards to everything under the sun, who gives a fuck if some perv in Japan stomped a kitty? We’re back to trying to police the whole world.

    Additionally, just because it’s immoral doesn’t mean there should be a law. Did we all forget this in our quest to save the kitties from high heels?

  52. I suspect this is all part of the ACORN-Homosexual-Cosmontarian agenda.

  53. We already have laws against stomping small furry creatures, right? So why an additional law against disseminating the pictures? Yeah, it’s evidence that somehow, somewhere, a crime was committed, but unless we’re going to apply our gambling standards to everything under the sun, who gives a fuck if some perv in Japan stomped a kitty? We’re back to trying to police the whole world.

    The derivative market of pictures of kitties getting stomped has a non-trivial positive effect on the market for kitties getting stomped.

  54. Unabashed First Amendment absolutist here. Performing the act should be illegal, depicting the act, not.

  55. “Unabashed First Amendment absolutist here. Performing the act should be illegal, depicting the act, not.”

    So you’re cool with kiddie porn, then?

  56. Reinmoose-

    I agree about the more humane treatment accorded cage free animals, etc. More and more I buy organic and cage free-but it is expensive. But, I think TAO is making the same point in his 2:28 post.

    Contrary to LurkerBold’s post, I am not lecturing-I am admitting that I have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of….

  57. This might seem odd, but I think the behavior of cats and dogs towards humans requires that people treat them with care more akin to children then cattle.

  58. No respect for property rights, ABCD?

    You should be able to do whatever you want with your animal, that’s the correct position unless you’re some kind of deodorant-wearing “cosmontarian”.

    Puppies can eat siht or die!

    Embryos on the other hand…they have full rights 100%!

  59. Mike,
    What part of “unabashed First Amendment absolutist” did you fail to comprehend?

  60. “What part of “unabashed First Amendment absolutist” did you fail to comprehend?”

    Fair enough. At least no one can call you a hypocrite.

  61. If I take a video of something legal in one jurisdiction, you can be charged for possessing the video in another jurisdiction where the conduct is illegal. Does that make any real sense to anyone?

    Yes, it does. As others have mentioned, consuming a product supports production of the product. The obvious example (child porn) has been tossed around plenty of times, above.

    So you can take your video of kittens being stomped in Japan, or wherever it’s legal, and keep it there or even post it on the intarwebs if you want to display your complete absence of good taste … but if it gets downloaded and stored on a computer located in America, where it’s illegal, then … it’s illegal.

    Similarly, you can buy and smoke a bunch of hash in Amsterdam, but don’t bring any home with you. See how simple it is, T?

    And for those of you who are equating animals that are consumed in America (cattle, et al.) with animals that aren’t (kittens, et al.); that’s Bullshit Debating 101, often called a “canard”. There is no parity between the two types of animals, and trying to force the issue only makes you look like an idiot. You might as well try to equate concrete with a bullet slug because “they’re both made up of stuff that was mined out of the ground”. They’re different, you know they’re different, and you’re just too dim to come up with a compelling argument for your position. We don’t give a crap what they eat in Indonesia … this is America.

  62. James Butler – none of what you wrote is rational discourse on why it is OK to slaughter cows for food but we want to jail people who step on kittens.

    So, if crush videos are made with cockroaches, that’s a different kettle of fish? How and why?

    It’s all emotional. Kittens are cute; cockroaches and cows are not.

  63. This is a slippery slope.

    Next, we’ll be told selling a video of a cop beating someone is illegal too.

  64. TAO – I’m sorry that you thought I was engaging in rational discourse about the different classifications Americans apply to different types of animals. I wasn’t. I was pointing out that, for whatever reason, there is a difference between animals classified as being for human consumption and those that aren’t.

    To lump all animals into the same class by way of arguing that it’s okay to stomp kittens because Americans eat hamburgers is in error.

    You continue the error with your kitten/cockroach herring. You say the difference is because kittens are cute and cockroaches are not as cute. Whatever. That might be the reason, but it doesn’t minimize the fallacy of treating the two classes of animals as equals in the eyes of the law or in the eyes of the vast majority of Americans.

  65. Animals frequently are property, though the vast majority of them are not. I do find this disgusting but not sure if it should be illegal.

    Yes, in my head I am drawing the line between cute animals and icky animals/bugs. So I guess I am on the side of legal when you get down to it.

  66. And besides … it’s the CONCEPT of intentional brutality that is in discussion, here. So from that perspective, if someone is filming cockroach stomping and then distributing it to a circle of fetishists who happen to enjoy watching that type of killing, for whatever reasons, then the CONCEPT is just as bad.

    Same goes for videos of cows being slaughtered. If they are released to fetishists who get some kind of pleasure out of witnessing the bovine killing process, then the CONCEPT comes into play, again. It feeds a sickness that the vast majority of society should want to heal.

    We’re not talking about pot smoking … we’re talking about willfully engaging in acts of death in the pursuit of satisfying prurient interests, not for the purpose of feeding the hungry or soothing the ill. It’s not a “victimless” activity, as many have noted above.

  67. TAO,

    Cuteness works for alot of people. Luckily, alot of what is cute also meets my own criteria, which is that the importance of protecting things is related to it’s intelligence and (the likely related) capacity for suffering.

    So, for the meat-eaters: better to eat a fish than chicken than a cow than a pig. And squishing kittens is much worse than a cockroach. And trees? Who cares (aside from the relationship to higher animals).

  68. So is PETA getting busted for that meet your meat stuff and the crazy posters they put up on Memorial Mall in DC on the weekends?

    If someone else asked this, sorry for being redundant.

  69. Animals are property. While I find it disgusting to stomp on kittens, to hold dog fights, senselessly murder animals, etc, I have a real problem with empowering the government to eradicate what I consider to be a disgusting practice.

    Kudos to TAO for getting it right.

    This reminds me of the old dolphin-safe tuna question:
    What about the tuna?

  70. This is where some libertarians totally lose their credibility. Don’t quibble with me about some Peta vegetarian versus hunter versus meat eater shit. There’s a difference between all that crap and crushing small animals to death for fun.

    I have no problem with just blowing away anyone evil enough to torture animals. They have no value to the world. Not everyone is valuable just because they’re human. Some people are simply worthless and too evil to live. Strengthen the animal cruelty laws and get rid of these despicable lowlife invaluable losers. I’d be glad to take on the job of pulling the trigger on their sorry asses.

  71. why it is OK to slaughter cows for food but we want to jail people who step on kittens.

    Crushing an animal causes a great deal more pain than cutting its head off, and slaughtering cattle is done to satisfy a necessity of life, whereas stomping on kittens is done just for fun.

    If you cut off a kitten’s head for the purpose of cooking and eating it, go right ahead. That’s not what we’re talking about, though.

  72. And TAO, you should realize that your position requires you to oppose laws against torturing animals, too.

  73. This reminds me of the old dolphin-safe tuna question:
    What about the tuna?

    A valid question only if both the tuna and dolphin are being used once killed. It’s reasonable to ask that dolphin not be killed solely as a by-product of killing tuna.

    And TAO, you should realize that your position requires you to oppose laws against torturing animals, too.

    If I understand him correctly, he does realize that.

  74. So nis my bondage porn safe? It is a necessity of life. Everybody in it is concenting and able to concent too.

  75. We would all be able to decide how tasty dolphin is if it were not for some silly treaty and goofy federal law(s).

    It seems to be currentoy out of my price range and out of my circle of suppliers.

    Anybody else had a taste recently?

  76. I don’t think snuff films should be outlawed either. I mean, isn’t that my first amendment right? I really need to see young boys get their head bashed to pieces in order to get off. So if we’re protecting sexual fetishes just because we don’t think we should be interfering with someone’s personal business, then make sure we protect that one too.

  77. Mickey,

    That ‘animals are people too’ joke was used upthread already I think.

  78. Lest we forget, it is even illegal in America to abuse animals intended for consumption. This past February a few slaughterhouse guys from SoCal got arrested and convicted of animal cruelty and other charges for abusing cattle on their way to becoming food. There’s more to that particularly nasty story, but it illustrates that there is not really any distinction being drawn between kittens and cattle, as far as the law goes.

  79. Not to go all Star Trek here, but I think possible sentience is an important factor, one reason I’d never eat primates, cetaceans or human fetuses past the second trimester. But that’s just me.

  80. And I say this as one of the seemingly rare libertarians that is strongly pro-animal rights.

    You can’t be “libertarian” and “strongly pro-animal rights”.Animals are a class of property.Libertarians support property rights.
    At the very least a libertarian should oppose using State force to outlaw traditional human uses of animals.

    There’s no reason we can’t put animals in this gray area as well (though obviously with lower levels of protection than children have).

    Yes there is.We are people, they are animals.
    Infants and the retarded are people and have rights.Animals are not.

  81. What about CGI kitten-crushing? Or using stunt kittens which actually aren’t hurt? Or cats who just appear to be kitten-aged?

  82. SIV, it’s not as black and white as you suppose.

    How do you justify allowing one person to imprison another person in a baby crib without their consent and without due process?

  83. I also wonder what the “animals have no damn rights” folks would do if they saw someone torturing a cat in a public park. Would you figure it was none of your business, or complain to the person that you really don’t want to hear the meows of agony and could they please take their cat torture somewhere else? Because if you try to stop them from torturing the cat, or try to lessen the animal’s pain in any way, you will be violating their property rights.

    And if you don’t see a problem with your position after this, I try not to judge, but you are one seriously twisted fuck.

  84. You can’t be “libertarian” and “strongly pro-animal rights”.Animals are a class of property.Libertarians support property rights.
    At the very least a libertarian should oppose using State force to outlaw traditional human uses of animals.

    No, you can’t have a well conceived, non-religious* worldview as a libertarian (either from natural rights OR utilitarian) without explaining why people are special compared to animals. The only two reasons I can think of are self-interest (which is BS, since in my self-interest I could define down people less than my ideal as not deserving rights) or something having to do with intellect. There are other similar ones I am sure of, but there are very few that makes a clear reason why humans are special.

    I happen to think we are special, as the smartest and most capable animals. But you can’t just define animals as property because it’s traditional, especially not from a libertarian point of view. Libertarianism (at least at it’s extremes) isn’t remotely traditional.

    Also, unlike many idiots, I understand that are varying views within libertarianism.

    By the way, you can’t be “libertarian” and “strongly anti-animal rights”.Animals are being assaulted. Libertarians support the non-aggression principle. **

    *in a ridiculously non-define way.
    **I don’t actually believe this (although I think people that disagree with my views are wrong, they certainly CAN be libertarians). This statement is for amusement only.

  85. Cunn, I may be incorrectly remembering this, but think that SIV is pro-dog abuse (not just not against it) so your second example may not work.

  86. I also wonder what the “animals have no damn rights” folks would do if they saw someone torturing a cat in a public park.

    i would be like so -doode you are being so un cool. stop that shit right now-

  87. Not to go all Star Trek here, but I think possible sentience is an important factor, one reason I’d never eat primates, cetaceans or human fetuses past the second trimester. But that’s just me.

    Possible sentience? Um, I think it’s pretty well established that animals can feel pain.

  88. dave,

    LOLO, forgot about that one!

    Good morning.

  89. lib dem,

    If that’s the case, I’m perfectly happy to place him in the “twisted fuck” category and be done with it.

  90. Is dilming and distribution of a killer rabbit and it being blown to bits with a holy hand grenade still legal?

  91. filming*

    stupid fat fingers

  92. Rights are irrelevant to this debate. An animal does not have to have “rights” to at least be owed protection from unnecessary cruelty and abuse.

  93. That’s a superficial distinction in practice. A human’s right to life takes legal form in the duty of the government to protect his life as much as possible.

  94. Is dilming and distribution of a killer rabbit and it being blown to bits with a holy hand grenade still legal?

    That had artistic merit, so it goes through the loophole, as does the Jimmy Carter vs. Swamp Rabbit battle, which has political merit.

  95. Not sure about Watership Down though.

  96. Rights are irrelevant to this debate.

    Well it should be irrelevant but many commenters believe the insidious concept that animals have or should have rights.

  97. this is a sick sick thread. mother earch is not going to be kind to you. this bad karma is bad news.

    siv you are sick.

  98. Truly demended article and observations demonstrating how common morals have degenenerated so completely. Pathetic individuals who have no respect and no compassion.

  99. Quoting>>>>>

    I also wonder what the “animals have no damn rights” folks would do if they saw someone torturing a cat in a public park.

    End Quoting>>>>>

    I guess I would ask…

    …does the guy doing the torturing own the cat?

  100. I wonder: How many of the photographs in the many fishing magazines would qualify as “depictions animal cruelty”?

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