Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An interesting thought....

upon the SCOTUS decision just announced that it is unconstitutional to bar the making and/or sale of videos depicting violence against animals: HUMANS ARE ANIMALS TOO.

It is currently illegal to make/sell/view child pornography, slash films, that sort of thing, because it is promoting violence against humans.

We prevent depicting actual violence against human beings. Why not against so-called "lesser" animals as well?

Just a thought.


Charlie Talbert said...

Humans generally believe that the other beings on the planet were put here at our disposal, or to put it more charitably and religiously, under our Dominion.

That’s probably not a bad deal for our pampered companion animals, or the ones we leave alone.

It’s a terrible deal for the ten billion ones caged, tormented, and slaughtered every year in the U.S. alone, for nothing but a human taste preference.

Eating animals and other forms of using them for entertainment (it's hardly for survival anymore - they’re not needed for food any more than their skins are needed for clothing), is largely a personal choice. The law allows people great latitude in how we cause them to suffer; whether in hunting and other blood sports, rodeos, circuses, Sea World, carriage pulling, etc. We tend to criticize those whose entertainment choices differ from our own, like snuff films, even when there is no difference in the degree of the victim's suffering.

On the positive side, society has been taking steps to limit the individual’s freedom to torture or to support the torture of animals. In 2008 dog fighting became a felony in all states in the U.S. Cockfighting was declared illegal in all the states in 2007 when Louisiana outlawed it, although an effort is underway in Hawaii to reinstate it (to honor the cultural heritage of certain ethnic groups living there.) Sounds like the SCOTUS decision you mention could be a setback.

But if so, it would only be a temporary setback. In my observation, people are increasingly coming to realize what they already know about other animals, in Henry Beston’s words:

“In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and times, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Charlie, you have given us all a great deal of food for thought.

Chalicechick said...

I should mention first off that I haven't read the decision. From an article or two in the popuylar medica, my impression is that the animal cruelty itself remains illegal, so I don't see how this differs from the human standard.

Killing somebody: illegal
Videotaping someone else killing someone: Probably illegal, but only in the sense that you are an accessory to the first crime.
Making a movie where a character dies but the actor doesn't die: Legal.

Animal cruelty: Illegal
Videotaping animal cruelty: Legal under this decison but "accessory to animal cruelty" wasn't really a crime in the first place
Making a movie where an animal appears to die but doesn't: Not a crime

One wonders if the PETA folks who are always sneaking into labs and videotaping animal mistreatment would have been liable under this law had it come out the other way.
I'm guessing the law in question was written to get around that, but again, I haven't read the case.

who is really fascinated with simulated kiddie porn (AS A LEGAL CONCEPT) and looks forward to decisions on that. If the actress is 19 and is retouched on computers to look 12 so that no actual kid is hurt in the process, is that kiddie porn? The courts have yet to answer definitively.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, CC, for the sorting out of some of the areas the law deals with.

Desmond Ravenstone said...

"accessory to animal cruelty" wasn't really a crime in the first place

So, let's say Ms. A sells a puppy to Mr. B, knowing that B intends to abuse the puppy, A cannot be charged with a crime?

If A could be charged as an accessory, then I don't see why Mr. C who films the abuse could not also be charged.

really fascinated with simulated kiddie porn (AS A LEGAL CONCEPT) and looks forward to decisions on that.

You're not alone, CC. The way laws are written, websites like Literotica have felt it necessary to institute a ban on fictional written depictions of under-18 sex, even when it's clear the characters are fully consenting.

I've often argued that, instead of trying to proscribe smut, we need to improve it. Westerns and sci-fi flicks, for example, were considered rather cheesy entertainment, until more and more moviegoers began to demand better quality scripts, acting and production. Now there are films in these genres which are regarded as cinematic masterpieces. I think if there was more of a demand for high-quality erotica, we'd see the more brutal and mindless stuff fall by the wayside.

Robin Edgar said...

"We prevent depicting actual violence against human beings."

Do we really?

Miss Kitty said...

An excellent point, Ms. K, and one that most humans are too cowardly to really think about.