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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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85 Responses

  1. sonia
    sonia January 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm |

    Wow. I pretty much agree with you. Made me squirm. But great post.

  2. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey January 6, 2009 at 9:04 pm |

    “Crush porn and free speech” is a headling guaranteed to bring traffic (and surprise) from my Twitter feed.

    That doesn’t mean that abusing animals will be legal, but it will mean that I could buy a video of that abuse if I wanted. Which is fucked, but fucked-up outcomes are unfortunately what you get when you have a free society populated by a lot of people

    Many states make the (nonhunting) killing of an animal a felony. Videos of this sort can be detered, without making it a free speech issue. Then again, Joe Lieberman made an issue about how Melrose Place was “soft-porn soap. ” (Lieberman has never watched Cinemax.) Congress likes to grandstand on these kind of issues.

  3. preying mantis
    preying mantis January 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm |

    “And I desperately want to think of a reason why outlawing these videos should pass constitutional muster.”

    I dunno. I mean, yes, the acts are illegal for good reason. Yes, disgusting. On top of that, the few cases where the producers have been found, investigated, and reported on involved the women in the videos having been coerced into it, so you have that on top of the animal cruelty.

    But it seems like this is such fraught legal territory that it can’t help but turn into a large resource-sink and have a fair amount of collateral damage (people being charged for filming a bullfight while on vacation in Mexico/Spain, only outlaws watching Animal Cops, etc.). The time, energy, and money liable to be sunk into what seems to be a comparatively minor problem should it remain on the books for a significant period of time probably isn’t worth it. We’d likely do a lot more good by allocating those resources to existing campaigns to enforce and enhance laws against actual animal cruelty rather than chasing after people with videos of it.

    Especially since one instance of animal cruelty can generate a theoretically limitless number of prosecutions under a law criminalizing video of cruel acts. Until we have limitless resources within the justice system, we’re probably better off prosecuting actual acts, where the prosecution targets someone who actually personally participated in the act.

  4. Renee
    Renee January 6, 2009 at 9:08 pm |

    I had no idea such a think existed until I read this post. Let me start off by saying that disgust does not even come close to the feelings that I have about crush porn. I personally believe just from reading this post that no only should it be outlawed but any depiction of it as well. A depiction cannot occur without the act taking place and therefore allowing a visual recording of the act is the same as allowing crushing to be legal. Every time I think that I have come to the end of how disgusting and cruel people can be, I learn that there is even a new level of filth.

  5. ephraim
    ephraim January 6, 2009 at 9:12 pm |

    i think with this matter, as with kiddie porn, we have to be really careful to make a distinction between people’s desires and people’s behaviors. i don’t think people who get off on images of animals being harmed are bad people, and i don’t think their desires should be criminalized. you don’t choose what makes you hard (i think we have some degree of agency in the matter, but how much varies from person to person). and it’s not like they’re any more like to harm actual animals from watching the porn – or if they are, i’d like to see some statistics on that.
    it’s the people who harm the animals and the people who pay them to harm the animals are the bad guys here. i have to wonder when film technology will become advanced enough that we’ll be able to make realistic porn for people who get off on horrible things without actually harming any animals or children (or giantesses or two headed dragons). i think giving people who through no volition of their own ended up with fetishes that either can’t be actualized at all or can’t be actualized ethically/legally a safe outlet for them makes everyone safer and healthier.

  6. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution January 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm |

    Surprise! I too think crush porn should be illegal…live creatures are killed in it. Major difference between that and other porn.

  7. queerunity
    queerunity January 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm |

    Thank you for posting about this sick and horrible crime. I have heard about this years ago and it makes me sick to my stomach. How anyone could do it, and how anyone could watch it is beyond my comprehension. We live in a very sick world.

  8. preying mantis
    preying mantis January 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm |

    “Is it just because crushing is meant to be sexually arousing?”

    So far as I can see, that seems to be the difference. I don’t think anyone would argue that (insert animal group here) should be banned from filming, distributing, or publicizing video of the animal cruelty they discovered while undercover in a factory farm or slaughterhouse. Same with someone filming cockfights/dogfights in order to demonstrate the cruelty of the practice to legislative or activist groups, or someone who taped their neighbor abusing a pet to prompt a proper investigation from police. Most people would probably not argue that someone who filmed an arguably cruel activity (cockfighting, bullfighting, animal sacrifice, eating live animals, etc.) in an area where it was legal should be charged for possessing the video once they get back to the US. Introduce prurient interest, and suddenly we can’t ban it fast enough.

    Though it would be interesting if you lived in a state where a specific act (cockfighting, for instance) was legal. Could you be charged under federal law for having a film of something that, were it happening in your front yard at the time of your arrest, would be allowed to proceed unhindered?

  9. ephraim
    ephraim January 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm |

    I don’t see it as a matter of some fetishes being ok or not ok. i don’t even think they can be judged as such. they’re integral parts of some people’s minds. they can’t be brought on or gotten rid of at will. they just ‘are’. and, i don’t think it’s just about sex. i would say the same thing about some people’s affinity for violence. you can think about killing as many people as you want or (non-sexually) enjoy watching images of the most gruesome torture, and i don’t think that makes you a bad person, if you’re not actually going out maiming and killing. contributing economically to those who do is a greyer area, however.

    honestly, and i don’t mean to derail, but i think the whole blurring of desire and behavior and the obsession with policing what’s in people’s heads is a product of the influence of christianity on the western world…that whole bit where thinking about doing your neighbor’s wife is as bad as actually doing it. seems totally ridiculous from an outside perspective.

    i also wonder if criminalizing the possession of crush porn is only going to spawn even harder to track networks of ametuers that will result in even more animals being hurt. in any case, denying fetishists fetish-related porn is not going to make their fetishes go away and it’s not going to make them healthier, more stable, more productive members of society, probably the opposite.
    i think the reasonable solution is either realistic animation or special effects. call it a harm reduction approach…for the people and the animals.

  10. MochaMojo
    MochaMojo January 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm |

    Ughh honestly I never thought I’d hear about this fetish again. One time I was chatting with someone online (when I was still pretty new to the internet, and thus visited Yahoo!chat often for my online social connections) and they started asking me all these really weird questions about if I’d ever crushed a spider or other type of bug while wearing high heels. They were oddly adamant about getting me to answer their questions, so I asked about it and they said they had a fetish about women crushing bugs and other insects while wearing pumps.

    It definitely creeped me out. I had no idea that people would also do it to other small animals, including puppies and kittens. I find that horrifying. I know people sometimes can’t choose what turns them on, but to actively seek something like that out?

  11. preying mantis
    preying mantis January 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm |

    “Preying Mantis, I think it’s illegal to buy or sell the videos, not to make them. So taping your neighbor to report him to the police or PETA making videos about slaughterhouses would be ok.”

    Isn’t that not how it works with child porn, though? Possession of the videos triggers a charge, with distribution or profit therefrom being a separate charge of its own. Given that crush porn is generally extremely cheap to make, it seems like just making it illegal to sell or buy videos would do practically nothing to stem any tide of it. It’s a very uncommon fetish, so you’d probably see what you see in many cases of child porn or legal-but-really-weird stuff–people who get off on it trading and sharing material rather than selling it and an increase in homemade porn.

  12. Nina M.
    Nina M. January 6, 2009 at 10:09 pm |

    You’ve thought yourself into a corner. This is not a difficult issue, really. I say:

    Depictions of actual, illegal animal cruelty absent any meaningful context (say, the images are offered in an educational / investigative context) represent conspiracy on the part of the photographer / film crew / distributor / seller. You get one count of conspiracy for every iteration of the depiction that is distributed. Purchasers are charged with conspiracy after the fact for their role in creating a market for the images (it is in anticipation of such a market that the illegal act was committed). The trick then is to jack up the penalties on acts of animal cruelty. The laws in some states are positively medieval.

    What is hard about that?

    You write: “The Court could say that the level of pure harm and lack of consent inherent to animal abuse videos are enough to warrant them utterly meritless. But the First Amendment doesn’t just protect speech that we like, and I suspect that this law will be found unconstitutional.”

    Total non sequitor. The law doesn’t care what you like or what you don’t like. Its not about you. You’re not involved. The law should address animal abuse and the products thereof. If a side effect of an animal cruelty law is that someone can’t buy crush porn, that is an inconvenience to that person – not a free speech issue. The Constitution does not guarantee you the right to buy whatever you want.

    A criminal act does not become justifiable just because there is someone out there who is willing to pay to see it.

  13. preying mantis
    preying mantis January 6, 2009 at 10:22 pm |

    “and the videos have all but disappeared from the internet.”

    Wasn’t there a fuss that actually made mainstream papers less than three years ago about a series of videos online featuring a Chinese woman in high heels stomping kittens? There seemed to be a preference for calicos or torties? There were reports that the model (is that even the right word?) had been found dead after an investigation by local authorities. I don’t doubt that this stuff isn’t available on youtube, or on US-based sites–which may be the Humane Society’s scope, since it’s not like the US can ban stuff in Russia–but it seems difficult to credit that the same agencies, only with fewer resources and lesser penalties, were able to kick crushing off the internet when they can’t kick anything else off the internet.

  14. octogalore
    octogalore January 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm |

    I’m pretty rusty legally, but I wonder why it wouldn’t fit the Miller v. California definition of obscenity.

  15. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses January 6, 2009 at 11:21 pm |

    But crush porn isn’t simply pornography that depicts a crime. It’s evidence of a crime. There’s rape porn too, but rape porn doesn’t involve rape. Crush porn involves committing animal cruelty. If someone is filming actual rapes and getting off on them, that’s not protected under the First Amendment. It’s evidence in a crime. So I don’t see how crush porn can be protected.

    And I have a hard time calling crushing a fetish. I think it’s more of an offshoot of sexual sadism.

  16. outlander
    outlander January 7, 2009 at 1:48 am |

    Last month, the United States solicitor general asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. “Depictions of the intentional infliction of suffering on vulnerable creatures,” the brief said, “play no essential role in the expression of ideas.” The First Amendment, the brief went on, is therefore irrelevant to the case.

    Suppose SCOTUS accepts that argument and applies it.

    90% of horror movies would violate it.

    Most adventure movies and Westerns involve violence against the Bad Guy, but the Bad Guy will have already inflicted violence against some vulnerable creatures (which, are by definition women in a Western movie.)

    As well as a sizable chunk of PETA’s video vault.

  17. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault January 7, 2009 at 2:04 am |

    Mantis,
    There is an exception for political, educational, artistic, etc purposes. The speech that was banned was commercial. I, personally, think that distinction is important and I think it’s applicable to porn, too. I think there’s a big difference between political speech and advertising speech. I think there’s a big difference between educational speech and magazine for profit speech. The commercial aspect changes things. And personally, I don’t think the first amendment was intended to protect businesses, I think it was intended to protect loud-mouthed humans from prison.

    What you said earlier: “the women in the videos having been coerced into it, so you have that on top of the animal cruelty.”
    YES! I think that’s an important point.

    FYI, Pet-Abuse.com recommends:
    “To report child pornography [websites], contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at http://www.cybertipline.com.
    To report bestiality websites, e-mails, profiles or other online obscenity, contact Morality in Media at http://www.obscenitycrimes.org

    And the ASPCA says:
    “To report websites that display real acts of cruelty to animals, please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center [http://www.ic3.gov/], a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.”

  18. Cole
    Cole January 7, 2009 at 4:09 am |

    “I do think that a person who gets off on, or enjoys in any other way, hurting others needs serious help.”

    Hmm, I thought you were more positive towards BDSM.

  19. Zoe Brain
    Zoe Brain January 7, 2009 at 5:40 am |

    Would a video depicting someone slowly sawing off the head of a Jew be “protected speech” or deemed pornographic? Such films regularly emanate from Islamic Jihad and Co.

    I’m personally in favour of not banning those, but publicising them to reveal the extent of the film-makers cruelty, which should not be “hushed-up”.

    But this could easily be seen as granting humans less rights than other animals, and to encourage the foetid idea that some groups of humans are in fact less than animals.

    It’s not as simple as I wish it were. I’m open to suggestions. We all have the same goal, to get rid of inhuman cruelty, but how to get there?

  20. Endor
    Endor January 7, 2009 at 8:44 am |

    “Major difference between that and other porn.”

    Seems like a natural progression to me. Porn is all about hate, abuse and pain and pretending all that’s sexy so it seems only natural it would eventually get to the point of actually killing things and pretending that’s sex. A little prelude to snuff porn.

    On another note,

    How is it possible that we’ve actually reached the point where we can’t decided if videos of people crushing helpless animals to death should be legal or not?

  21. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork January 7, 2009 at 8:55 am |

    These are snuff films. If snuff films are illegal these should be illegal.

    More to the point, if your issue is the slow crushing of small animals –

    when egg-laying hens reproduce, half their young are male. these males are ‘useless’ for profit. thus, less than a day old, they are disposed of, often by ‘crushing’.

    That is, dump them in a bin. You can fit a lot of chicks in a bin, so most of the ones at the bottom will die of crushing or suffocation long before you send the whole lot to be ground up or crushed in an industrial machine.

    This is billions per year.

    All moral issues aside, this is a stupendous aesthetic acheivement. To take such an amazingly cute thing, and destroy it in such vast numbers, in such a graphically hideous way…the world’s greatest artists must surely have been involved?

    Image:
    http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/factoryfarming/photos/egg.html

  22. Cruelty is not the Point « Bones Without a Sense of Direction

    [...] is not the Point Feministe has an article about “crush porn”. That is, in order to sexually arouse viewers, you get someone, [...]

  23. William
    William January 7, 2009 at 9:39 am |

    I think that the issue of crush porn is an example of how some traditional ways of restricting individual behavior (legislation) simply fail to work in the modern age. The reality is that, if it exists, pretty much anything you might want to find is available somewhere on the internet. Thats doubly true for fetish porn. If something is legal anywhere in the world you can bet that a website is hosted there offering whatever horrifying content they offer; if enough people have a fetish they’ll find one another and trade digital copies for free. Crush porn hasn’t gone away, it’s just been pushed to the kinds of places on the internet Congress and the New York Times doesn’t go.

    For me the problem is that laws against these kinds of material don’t actually work. I’d be uncomfortable restricting the first amendment not matter what, but if it could be demonstrated that a very small restriction resulted in the end of a much larger violation of rights (say, if you actually could craft a law which would stop crush porn) then the realist in me would probably overrule the absolutist. With the laws we’re talking about, though, what we end up with is a restriction on the first amendment, more government power, and no actual gain. At best we manage to reduce local production of crush porn for profit amongst those individuals who are not savvy enough to get around the regulations. Even then we have to expend limited resources in order to enforce these laws, resources which would probably be better spent investigating child porn or human trafficking.

  24. Jessica
    Jessica January 7, 2009 at 10:05 am |

    Where consent cannot be obtained, a fetish should not be indulged. Simple as that. An animal cannot consent to this and to do it anyway is a kind of rape/murder. These are snuff films, no doubt about it.

  25. tps12
    tps12 January 7, 2009 at 10:12 am |

    How big a phenomenon is this? Had anyone here ever accidentally stumbled across any of this “crush porn” in their internet travels before reading about this in the media?

    This just seems to have all the hallmarks of a “snuff film” type hysteria that sells papers and gives politicians an opportunity to grandstand on an issue where they know 99.9999% of the public will agree with them.

    And we still have not solved the problem of rainbow parties…think of the children!

  26. someone else
    someone else January 7, 2009 at 10:14 am |

    Yeah, you know what? I don’t have a problem at all saying that some fetishes are bad, and are an indicator that you are a bad person.

    I once was involved with a guy who – I discovered – could not reliably keep his erection unless he was pretending to rape his partner. It turned out that, surprise surprise, he was an utter asshole who didn’t give a shit about other people besides himself. I ditched him, though not as quickly as I should have. Ugh! He was a bad person, and that was beautifully illustrated by his “fetish.”

    People who take pleasure from hurting other people or animals, either in their imaginations or in actual fact, are bad people. I don’t have a problem with saying that. Not one little bit.

  27. Laurie in Mpls.
    Laurie in Mpls. January 7, 2009 at 10:41 am |

    Please — put a trigger warning on this one. I have far, far too good of an imagination, and now I can’t get those images out of my head. I didn’t even read the whole thing.

    Thanks.

  28. Lisa
    Lisa January 7, 2009 at 10:59 am |

    Is there any reason this couldn’t fall under some permutation of the law making it illegal to profit from a crime? I mean, if it’s illegal for serial killers to sell their memoirs, it seems like selling videos would be at least as illegal.

  29. puerdixit
    puerdixit January 7, 2009 at 11:05 am |

    I attended a fascinating talk on “Crush Freaks in an Unforgiving World” by Hugh Raffles, an anthropologist at the New School. I took away three main points:

    1. Most self-identified “crush freaks” are excited by the idea of themselves as tiny, vile, disgusting creatures who are trampled upon by giant, beautiful, powerful women–something akin to the foot, shoe, and trampling fetishes among many straight submissive men.

    2. According to Raffles, crush fantasies almost exclusively features insects, worms, and perhaps rodents–mostly because crush freaks don’t identify with something as cute as a kitten. Nevertheless, anti-crush campaigns whip up panic about the slippery slope from crush porn to kiddie snuff, even though a crush consumer is pretty unlikely to get off on killing anything himself.

    3. In practice, the 1999 law prohibits images of something that most people find totally unobjectionable–stomping on bugs and killing rodents–when those images are presented as erotic. (But not, say, in an ad for an exterminator, a horror movie, a report on scientific research, or even as a form of gross-out entertainment.)

    As a longtime vegan with an abolitionist philosophy, I’m certainly against humans harming other beings for pleasure–sexual, gustatory, aesthetic or other. However, as a queer person, I’m unnerved by sex panics. I personally don’t see crush porn as ethically far from leather fetish (as much as I appreciate leatherqueers as part of my culture) or, heck, even the whole “fuck-me boots” thing when those boots are made of dead animals. So I’m intrigued by how people think and talk about crush fetish, and what these responses say about larger attitudes towards non-humans, sexuality, and gender.

    I’d def recommend checking out Raffles’ paper; I can’t find a published version, but he seems to deliver it regularly. My main complaint was the lack of analysis of how women are depicted in crush porn–no one ever seems to talk about them!

  30. ephraim
    ephraim January 7, 2009 at 11:25 am |

    “Where consent cannot be obtained, a fetish should not be indulged. Simple as that. An animal cannot consent to this and to do it anyway is a kind of rape/murder. These are snuff films, no doubt about it.

    just to continue to play devil’s advocate here, an animal can’t consent to being fattened and slaughtered, nor can it consent to being harnessed to a plow and made to pull, nor to the domestic life of an indoor pet, but the societal consensus (barring a small minority of vegans) is that all those things are more or less ethical.

  31. ephraim
    ephraim January 7, 2009 at 11:35 am |

    “As for fetishes just “being,” I don’t know if I buy that. I think sexuality is highly malleable and influenced by society, in addition to being inborn — I think it’s a combination of nature and nurture. The fact is that some sexual fetishes exist today that did not and could not have existed 100 or 200 years ago; and while people can’t control what turns them on, they can, like MochaMojo said, choose not to seek it out. And really, 99% of fetishes are harmless. But I do think it’s an issue when we eroticize non-consensual violence against any being. I think if someone sat around watching videos or looking at pictures of real murders for fun, they would need help, not a shrug and a “Well, you can’t help what interests you!””

    I certainly didn’t claim that they were inborn or genetic/biological, only that they’re embedded in some people’s psyches and can’t be acquired or gotten rid of at will. I very strongly agree that desires are impacted by society (why else would the standard for attractiveness be white, thin, and wealthy?), and i agree that they are somewhat malleable, but to the degree of malleability varies from person to person. Otherwise, there’d be a lot less queer folks, for one.

    I’m not suggesting we just shrug it off when people have violence-oriented fetishes. I just think that the help we can give them involves the creation of safe and ethical outlets for their fetishes (role play, costumes, porn that doesn’t actually hurt animals or people but looks like it does, etc.), rather than aversion therapy – trying to condition people out of their desires has a miserable track record.

    Most anti-porn discourse rests on the notion that watching sexualized images of violence will incite one to real violence, but there’s no evidence that this is true. So, it seems the only reason to criminalize or pathologize these sorts of fetishes is because we’re uncomfortable with what goes on solely in other people’s minds.

  32. Naamah Darling
    Naamah Darling January 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm |

    The crushing thing is not new to me; I’ve known about it for some time and am completely disgusted with it. I believe that, as it involves deliberately harming an animal to produce it, it should be illegal to produce. I understand that it’s a complicated issue — the example of bullfighting is a good one. It’s one of those things where most people are able to see the difference between the two, but have a hard time articulating what makes them different. I have to say I don’t have any answers beyond hunting down and prosecuting people who make these sick videos. Any further steps, and I’m not sure of my moral footing.

    On this and other comments in the same vein: “People who take pleasure from hurting other people or animals, either in their imaginations or in actual fact, are bad people.”

    Yeah, thanks a lot.

    You know, I would never harm another person without their consent, nor would I harm an animal, nor do I get off on thinking about hurting animals or depictions thereof. I’m not a bad person, and nobody who knows me would ever argue that I am violent or cruel, but I enjoy occasionally “hurting” other consenting adults for recreational purposes, and I enjoy receiving it, too.

    I also have fantasies that are definitely borderline to entirely non-consensual in nature. Fantasies in which I am the instigator, fantasies in which I am the recipient. I have always had these fantasies, ever since I can remember. I did not choose to be wired this way, I don’t know what caused it, I cannot change it (though the nature of it has altered with time), and it has not yet led me to cause permanent harm to anyone, or even nonconsensual temporary discomfort.

    Those fantasies are exactly that: fantasies. I know the difference between fantasy and reality. I will not ever cross that line, it is not a slippery slope, I am not a time bomb waiting to go off.

    I would not want to engage in the acts I fantasize about, nor even see an actual depiction of a nonconsensual sexual act (hence my limiting myself to written works almost exclusively for fear of promoting abuse). Heck, even simulated depictions of nonconsensual sexual acts are deeply disturbing to me.

    I apologize for the hijacking of the thread, but I am not going to let that kind of ill-informed blanket statement pass.

    If you don’t mean your words to apply to consensual kinky sex play between grown-up humans, choose them with more care. If you do truly believe that all people who enjoy inflicting any kind of “harm,” whether real or imagined, are universally bad people, you’re dead wrong about what a great many kinky people are like, and are being pretty insulting to boot.

  33. Black Cat Rescue
    Black Cat Rescue January 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm |

    I’ve seen some horrific stuff that I’d like to forget while trying to help animals, but this is new. I am hoping that the fact that I had never heard of this until today means that there is not a huge market for it.

  34. kb
    kb January 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm |

    I second the request for clarification on the laws regarding distribution of real depictions of murder or snuff porn. Same statutes should apply, I’d think. I thought the first amendment had been interpreted to not include speech likely to cause harm. This isn’t even likely, it’s by definition causing harm. You’re more up on the constitution than me, am I wrong here?. as to the issue of other instances, I can’t see a good reason why you need to sell it-as it sounds like you’re saying, it’s legal to own but not to sell. this allows you your recording of a bullfight in spain, but really, under what circumstances do you need to profit from that recording? I don’t see that. I do think that creating a commercial disincentive is the best the government can do. i.e.-the most realistic way to stop dogfighting is to make it unprofitable.

  35. Case Study in Media & Public Reaction Regarding Animal Rights : Elaine Vigneault

    [...] My mother-in-law sent me a link about crush videos, small animal snuff films fetishized for sexual pleasure. I forwarded the link to Jill at Feministe, hoping the legal issues and pornography aspect would pique her interests (she’s a feminist lawyer, after all). Sure enough, she posted about it. [...]

  36. piny
    piny January 7, 2009 at 1:28 pm |

    (I’m not sure I even want to comment on this, given that a commenter has already said that kink makes you a bad person, but:)

    My visceral reaction to the, “I know it’s hard to believe, folks…” opening was, really? Really?

    You know, presumably, that there’s rape porn, violence and assault porn, and plenty of written stroke material–bodice-rippers, for example–that include plenty of sexualized violence. You know that these are easy to find, really pretty ubiquitous. There are also many barely-softcore depictions of sexualized violence that are good, clean, mainstream horrorshow fun. Is getting off on brutalized kittens more shocking than getting off on brutalized teenage girls?

    And, of course, there’s the high prevalence of sexual violence and violence itself.

    And then there are all the people who derive pleasure from hurting animals. There’s hunting and canned hunts, bullfights and dogfights and cockfights. Bullfights are a major cultural institution in Spain; is that a country of sociopaths? “Bad people?” The aficionados might not be beating off, but they are certainly fascinated by the slow and painful death of a feeling animal.

    And then there are all the things we do to animals. One commenter has already made the analogy to eating meat. I think I agree with it. I eat animals. I eat them because they taste good. I don’t always eat meat that has been raised in health, let alone contentment.

    This means that I pay other people to torture and kill animals for my sensual pleasure, in ways far more painful than crushing. I might be able to do this because–with a lot of help–I can remain oblivious to the steps between crate and plate. And I do not derive sexual pleasure from eating meat or from the treatment of the eaten animal.

    I might be less disgusting and less shocking, but am I better? Is compartmentalizing better than fetishizing? Is it better even though willful ignorance allows a whole population to torture and kill animals as part of our daily lives?

    As the same commenter pointed out, there are also animals we exterminate because we don’t want them anywhere near us. I kind of wonder if crushing vermin would be as shocking or disgusting to people.

  37. Lauren O
    Lauren O January 7, 2009 at 2:08 pm |

    God, I remember hearing about this kind of thing at least four years ago. I remember hearing about a woman in Japan who made these kinds of films and was stomped to death by some crazy animal rights group. I have no idea if that is true or a high school urban legend.

    I have to say that I like Nina M’s idea about it being conspiracy. It seems fair to say that you’re an accomplice to animal abuse if you buy/sell stuff like this, but I have zero legal background.

    I get really tired of people trying to defend explicitly violent porn on free speech basis. Boing Boing posted something about Max Hardcore being put in jail on obscenity charges, and the vast majority of the commenters talked about how horrible it was that free speech was being violated. As if filming a gang rape scene where the actress had to go to the emergency room afterward were inconsequential, as if raping women on camera were inconsequential. Free speech apparently not only covers shit like that but is also way more important than the basic physical safety of women.

  38. me
    me January 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm |

    I, too, have seen stuff about crush porn, but its usually more about people crushing things like bugs, or fruits and veggies.

    Most of what I have seen on the internet about it says something along the lines of some people get off on hurting the small animals, but many people with a crush fetish watch/prefer insects or fruit to cute fuzzy animals.

    And, you’re not really going to run across crush on the internet by searching puppies on google, only if you’re looking up BDSM stuff–which would be why most people here haven’t seen it before. Furthermore, most of the contexts that I’ve seen this concept is pro-dommes sayings they will not engage in such activities at all.

    I’m not defending harming animals, but I’m saying that this (not just the article, but many of the comments) seems to be a somewhat narrow understanding of a very uncommon fetish.

  39. Adrian
    Adrian January 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm |

    There’s something really problematic that happens when we try to condemn (especially when we try to punish) offensive images that arouse viewers with disturbing fetishes. It’s different from condemning and trying to punish offensive acts like crushing a small animal. What about trick photography? CGI? Drawings? All those can look extremely offensive, and possibly arouse a fetishist. I don’t think it’s appropriate to punish this sort of thing, even if I’m personally squeamish about it. It might be unhealthy or morally dubious for a fetishist to indulge in it…or it might provide a safe outlet for desires that cannot be acted out and usually cannot even be expressed. I really don’t know. I do know that not all violent-looking fetish porn involves victims needing to be protected from violence.

  40. mothworm
    mothworm January 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    To be clear, I’m not saying that watching crush porn makes you a bad person….Is someone actually a “bad person” for crushing an animal to death? I don’t know.

    Oh good lord. I know you’re not a liberal parody troll, but they couldn’t have done any better.

    Yes, if you get off on murder/non-consensual violence, you are a bad person. Those are bad things, ergo, liking them makes you bad as well. There’s nothing about being a liberal/progressive/open/sex-positive whatever that says you can’t make value judgments. It’s like how being pro-tolerance doesn’t mean that you have to also tolerate intolerance.

    This isn’t about condemning kink, it’s about condemning non-consensual violence for the sake of violence. I still fail to see the difference between this and a snuff film. Surely there are laws against those?

    It’s the same as the difference between killing somebody and making a film in which actors pretend to kill each other. The latter is a matter of free speech. The first isn’t, and filming it or watching a film of it happening for real doesn’t suddenly, magically transform it into a free speech issue.

  41. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint January 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm |

    I have zero problem with these videos being illegal. I’m too angry to write any kind of coherent comment right now. I will say this – yeah, I think even watching these videos makes you a bad person, if you’re watching them to get off, and not for some kind of reportage. If torture is your thing (and I’m not referring to BDSM here; I mean real, actual torture), you’d best stay the fuck away from me. I’m not willing either to give the women involved some kind of free pass.

  42. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint January 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm |

    Oh good lord. I know you’re not a liberal parody troll, but they couldn’t have done any better.

    Perfect.

  43. Angiportus
    Angiportus January 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm |

    I was squicked out by this phenom ever since I first read about it some years back. Getting off on a mundane task like ridding one’s home of bugs was bizarre enough, but identifying with the bug, that tripped the circuit breaker on my imagination. But this year, when I read that kittens had been killed that way, I just wanted to cry. I myself would draw the line at anything that had a central nervous system, but I also would think that getting off on the destruction of nigh anything alive (or that anyone worked hard to make) is a sign that something is not quite right inside.
    And I know people can’t help what turns them on, but I am really pissed off that after all these decades the doctors can’t fix it. We’ve got a real problem here and still we hear only about those quacks who claim to turn gay people straight.
    You could come up with realistic animation, you could make child-size dolls for pedophiles, and I suspect that would still help only part of the situation. There are some I suspect who would not be satisfied except with the real thing. And for them I can only hope they meet the fate of one crush freak who had enough of women walking on him so he lay in a shallow pit and had someone park their truck on him, with the result you may guess. No, I don’t recall where I read that, I may wake up soon and find it was a nightmare, but then that would be true for a lot of my life.
    For my money you are a good or bad person by what you do. And there’s some stuff on my conscience that I may never be cleansed of, but nothing like that. All I can do is support such things as little as possible. I pretty much agree with mothworm and Ginjoint. And I know there’s lots of cats die every day because homes aren’t found for them, but I can’t afford to rescue any now.
    So what-all should be illegal I am not certain, save the actual live making of these videos. And how to put teeth in that law, and catch the perps, I don’t know either. But an intelligent discussion can’t hurt.

  44. William
    William January 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |

    I get really tired of people trying to defend explicitly violent porn on free speech basis. Boing Boing posted something about Max Hardcore being put in jail on obscenity charges, and the vast majority of the commenters talked about how horrible it was that free speech was being violated.

    I think you’re missing the point in an important way. Paul Little wasn’t prosecuted for rape, assault, reckless endangerment, negligence, or creating unsafe working conditions. Little was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted on an obscenity charge. The message the court sent was that the things he did (and paid others to do) were perfectly OK so long as he didn’t sell video. Thats punishing the speech and not the actions, and it sends a dangerous precedent.

    Paul Little, like the people who make these crushing videos, disgusts me on a visceral level. What they do is probably criminal and I’m of the opinion that they ought to be prosecuted whenever possible for the crimes they have committed, but to prosecute anyone for their speech is simply unacceptable in a free society. The problem with obscenity prosecutions is that they are always targeted at hard-to-defend creatures like Paul Little precisely because there is the hope that the court will convict and set a precedent. The goal of these prosecutions is to open up the door for further restrictions, further controls, further limitations. The goal is to create a legal standard which allows the courts to incarcerate individuals not for harming others but for merely causing disgust, for violating the social order, for making others uncomfortable. Arresting people for disgusting you is an extremely dangerous road to start down.

    Beyond that theres the issue, which isn’t part of the crush debate, of consent. In the Max Hardcore case you had at least one actress appear in court and insist under oath that she enjoyed her experience. I can’t really understand how, personally I got a little queasy seeing the heavily censored stills that accompanied an article I read about the case, but there are a lot of things in this world I don’t get. I’ve got friends who enjoy having things done to them that I’d consider torture. Do their private lives squick me out? Sure they do, but I’m not nearly so vanilla (or arrogant) as to consider restricting their behavior, for their own good or otherwise.

  45. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick January 7, 2009 at 8:03 pm |

    Surprise! I too think crush porn should be illegal…

    I don’t know if you’d be pleased to hear this, Ren, or if you wouldn’t especially care, but hearing that from you doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  46. kb
    kb January 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm |

    and Adrian-to me that is a big point. I have no inherent problem with, for example, drawings of bestiality if that’s your thing. or actors acting out a rape scene. I know others may disagree with me there, but to me none of those cause harm. this does. end of story.
    also, Naamah Darling, I’m really curious about your description of BDSM(at least that’s what it sounds to me like you’re referring to) as harm. mostly because I personally don’t call what I do in the bedroom with consenting partners harm-to me that’s why we have safe words, to stop it from going into harm territory. I’d like to know your thought process for that if you’re willing to share.

  47. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses January 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm |

    Yeah, you know what? I don’t have a problem at all saying that some fetishes are bad, and are an indicator that you are a bad person. I once was involved with a guy who – I discovered – could not reliably keep his erection unless he was pretending to rape his partner.

    That’s not a fetish. When someone has a fetish, they can’t become sexually aroused without a particular object. The guy you were with is probably a sexual sadist.

  48. Kristin
    Kristin January 7, 2009 at 11:23 pm |

    I think Jill’s point wrt being a “bad person” was merely that, legally speaking, it dose not matter whether or not this particular kink makes one a “bad person.” I’ll add that I think the point (about how very *bad* this makes someone) adds little to the discussion. The question is how this kind of thing can best be regulated in order to protect the animals who are being harmed. Yes, of course, it’s fucked up and wrong when porn is produced in which someone *actually* stomps a kitten or puppy to death. It should not be allowed. But it gets us nowhere to direct our armchair psych at the people who like this stuff and debate the degree of goodness that may (or may not) reside in their souls. Also, it has nothing to do with the question of how best to combat the production and distribution of this kind of thing.

  49. casey
    casey January 8, 2009 at 12:45 am |

    An animal cannot consent to this and to do it anyway is a kind of rape/murder.

    I agree these videos are disgusting and certainly the practice should be banned. But I don’t understand framing it as a manner of consent. Animals can’t and don’t consent to ANYTHING we do to them. They don’t consent to be our food, they don’t consent to being bred with an animal of our choosing just so their offspring can be slaughtered, they don’t consent to being stuck in cages or tied up, they don’t consent to being hunted to extinction. Why is their consent important in this case?

    If animal consent DOES matter, then meat eating, forcing animals to have sex for breeding, hunting, and keeping animals as pets or in zoos should be illegal.

  50. piny
    piny January 8, 2009 at 1:46 am |

    This isn’t about condemning kink, it’s about condemning non-consensual violence for the sake of violence. I still fail to see the difference between this and a snuff film. Surely there are laws against those?

    The difference is that snuff films involve people, and “crush” films (honestly, both slang terms gross me out; women are not candles and cats are not Charmin) involve animals.

    Animals do not have the same rights as people. Many people disagree with this, but most people don’t even consider its justice. A snuff film is wrong and illegal because it’s wrong and illegal to kill a human being. It’s murder, whether or not it’s on tape.

    We don’t really understand murder as a crime, moral or legal, that you can commit against an animal. We shoot them for sport. We massacre them to keep them from eating our dry goods. To most of us, they aren’t persons. That belief plays out in any number of human-animal interactions, and it’s embedded in our laws.

    And I don’t know exactly where my beliefs lie on that larger issue, and I think I understand both the visceral reaction to this practice and the idea that it’s straight-up sadism not different from the human-focused variety. However, we as a society have very little concern for the wellbeing, life, happiness, pain or terror of animals. Including kittens. I think “crushing” is part of that.

  51. BStu
    BStu January 8, 2009 at 2:00 am |

    I have to say, I don’t think you need to be that much of a first ammendment absolutist to object to outlawing fictional representations of illegal acts. As reprehensible as child molestation and animal cruelty are, I find it terribly disturbing that we would have laws against fictional representations of these things. As much as these laws may be well intentioned, I find little solace in the promise that they’ll only be used properly when the letter of the law criminalizes what should be valid topics for cultural depictions. Indeed, they can be vital to informing people of the harm they cause.

    I would rather see something that makes a crime of commercializing the sale of a video of an illegal act. In theory, that would seem very justifiable to me. Still, I’d be concerned that “commercializing” could be read broadly enough to criminalize documentaries that I think would have a valid artistic and cultural purpose. I sympathize that these are difficult issues to legislate fairly, but I think expanding the crime to fictional representations (often to simply make things easier for prosecutors) is still too far.

  52. Banisteriopsis
    Banisteriopsis January 8, 2009 at 4:02 am |

    That’s a good point piny, what exactly is the difference between crush porn and sport hunting (ie, not for food)? That the viewer is masturbating? You’re still inflicting slow pain and eventual death for pleasure.

  53. Re Quired
    Re Quired January 8, 2009 at 4:57 am |

    I had never heard of crush videos until now. I lived for about six months in Vietnam and I could have made enough money in just a couple of nights to retire. There were hundreds of roaches (HUGE, SE Asian roaches) living under my kitchen floor.

    So where do you draw the line? It’s OK to crush roaches, which I detest. But it’s not OK to crush cats even though I detest them even more than roaches? Is it OK to crush poisonous snakes but not OK to crush non-poisonous snakes? The US government can crush Iraqis but not Mexicans? There seems to be a double standard in effect here that’s about the size of the Grand Canyon.

  54. Angiportus
    Angiportus January 8, 2009 at 5:15 am |

    I swat flies, I set mousetraps, I once made my living ripping live giant crabs in half, and then sometimes I just shoot the bull…but I didn’t get off on it. I am trying to separate my own visceral reactions from Reason.
    I know that a rat dying from poison might suffer just as much as one crushed under a heel for some sicko. I wish I could make sure everything that has to be killed, dies quick. But I don’t want to starve because the rats got my food, or lose my home if they chew thru the wires and start a fire.
    Now why do folks object to others getting pleasure from what in some other cases might be a necessary act? It isn’t just because of this culture’s puritanical lingering ideas about sex, or pleasure in general; there is also a fear that when in the midst of pleasure, or close to it, one’s judgment will be clouded, and impaired reasoning is not a good state in which to do things that need some judgment. Like deciding how to deal with pests, or procure one’s food. Or just how to interact with one’s fellow beings. I guess that’s why sex is still considered private, by some folks anyway. Less chance of innocent bystanders getting caught in the crossfire. [As well as the need for privacy as a requirement for one's own safety.] So that is part of why I think getting off on killing, even when distanced by a video, is not healthy.
    There is also the possibility that one who harms an animal on purpose might hurt people too. No need for them to get any farther down that road. Even if they identify with the victim, a victim is still needed. Will better animation, etc., solve this problem?
    As a society, this culture I find myself in has little concern for the life, health, happiness, etc. of anyone who isn’t a celebrity of some sort, that’s what it seems like sometimes.
    Oh, and I think the term fetish covers situations, s/m or otherwise, as well as objects. Yes I suppose there are some gray areas…

  55. ephraim
    ephraim January 8, 2009 at 8:25 am |

    i agree with piny. no matter how gross i find the idea of crush porn or bestiality, for that matter (and i do find them both pretty damn squickish), given that we as a society regularly non-consensually use animals to meet our needs for food, clothing, labor, and companionship, it seems disingenuous to balk at a very tiny number of people using them to meet their sexual needs. that so many people find that idea horrific and eating a steak just fine i think only shows that we have really fucked up notions about sex and sexuality. because suddenly all the rules about what is or isn’t ethical or moral change once someone’s getting turned on.

  56. kb
    kb January 8, 2009 at 10:01 am |

    ephraim-except the acts already are considered immoral/illegal-animal abuse is still illegal. I suppose your comment about disingenuity applies to videos of crushing roaches-though I’m pretty sure that’s not what most people would complain about in regards to crush porn.

  57. mothworm
    mothworm January 8, 2009 at 10:34 am |

    Now why do folks object to others getting pleasure from what in some other cases might be a necessary act?

    The difference is the necessity. When we exterminate rats to protect the food sources of people, we’re making a judgment that the survival of a person is more important than the survival of a rat. I wouldn’t disagree with that, but I see it as a debate we can have. There can be other ways to achieve that goal. Killing a rat in this situation isn’t the point of the exercise. The problem with crush porn is that the slow, sadistic death of an animal is the point. So maybe it’s not murder in the way we think of it. It’s sadism and animal cruelty, which is already illegal. I agree that outlawing fictional depictions does violate free speech rights, and that such a law would need to be rewritten. But I have no problem with a law that outlaws videos of the actual act.

  58. Angiportus
    Angiportus January 8, 2009 at 10:37 am |

    Ephraim and I are approaching the “fucked up notions about sexuality” thing from different viewpoints. Except I agree that it is disingenuous to focus on 1 form of abuse among many, just because that sort of turn-on is involved. I hope to one day be able to eat healthy, humanely-killed meat, and urge folks to get their pets neutered, to save the young from horrid fates. I could see refining that law so that no creature with a central nervous system [maybe some of you biology majors can help draw the line] could be used for that sort of entertainment.
    And yes I usually consider myself a 1st amendment fan, and no I don’t claim to have all the answers.

  59. Level Best
    Level Best January 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm |

    “[We] as a society have very little concern for the wellbeing, life, happiness, pain or terror of animals.”–piny

    That’s an excellent summation, piny, and I think this lack of concern on the basis of expediency/preference/profit says something really terrible about our values.

  60. piny
    piny January 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm |

    When we exterminate rats to protect the food sources of people, we’re making a judgment that the survival of a person is more important than the survival of a rat.

    Well…this is true for a lot of people, but not for everyone, and probably not for many of the people who call in exterminators or buy glue traps. I exterminate mice (no rats yet, thank God) because I don’t want them eating my cereal and polluting my countertops. I could accomodate a pretty large colony before I faced starvation or even much expense. I think the argument against leaving vermin in peace has more to do with comfort than life or death.

    And again, this is an argument I use myself: if it ever rains in California again, I’ll be annihilating multitudes of ants because I don’t want them marching around my sink.

  61. spacedcowgirl
    spacedcowgirl January 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm |

    I have to say that I really don’t understand why any of this is legally in question. Even in our colossally fucked-up society, it is illegal to torture animals. Yes, we have some rather quaint blind spots about that (things already mentioned… it’s legal to poison rats and terrible things go on at feedlots and slaughterhouses), but I would consider these oversights (or industry weaseling) that haven’t been corrected yet, not any kind of reason why there is or should be a moral gray area. At the very most they would be holdovers of a time when hunting or extermination practices that are frequently considered cruel today were common because they were considered a matter of life or death (by starvation or disease).

    And it is absolutely different in my opinion when you’re making a depiction for pleasure (of any kind) vs. documenting cruelty. I guess the legal question in the post is sort of interesting as it does call into question the legality of animal-cruelty sting videos and such if it hinges on obscenity, but it still seems straightforward to me. Producing actual film, for recreational pleasure or monetary gain, of something that is illegal, should also be illegal and probably to a greater extent than simply committing the crime, especially if the acts depicted victimize adults, children, or animals. Using the same films, with the knowledge that they are actual depictions of illegal acts, should also be illegal. And not that this really bears on its legality, but hell yes you are a bad person if you know you’re watching an actual animal tortured to death and you deliberately watch it anyway. You may be mentally ill or criminally insane or a deeply sad, troubled individual, or maybe you are a blithely happy sadist, but regardless you are bad and a danger to society simply by virtue of creating a market for cruelty and pain. Like we need any more of that.

    Fictional depictions are probably different–as much as I personally could totally deal with most violence being off-limits in media, plenty of people are entertained by it. And I’ve seen fictional depictions of torture perpetrated against humans on TV during prime time that is certainly meant to convey a sense that if it were real, it would be at least as bad as the films described in the post. The difference, of course, is that it is not real. I don’t really understand why people are entertained by this, but since nobody is actually hurt in the production, I guess I don’t have to understand it.

    I am just sick to my stomach after reading this. I’d heard of the phenomenon before but I had no idea it involved puppies and kittens.

  62. ephraim
    ephraim January 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm |

    “Ephraim, I think the difference (at least for me) comes in purposely causing the slow, tortorous deaths of animals for fun or pleasure. That’s why it’s different than eating a steak. It’s the same reason there’s a difference between a kid torturing a cat to death for fun and an animal shelter euthanizing a feral cat — the problem is (a) the prolonged and intentional suffering, and (b) the pleasure taken in that suffering. I don’t think it’s matters if that pleasure is sexual or not.”

    I’d contend that eating a steak is as much about fun and pleasure as any kind of pornography. You could just as easily eat vegetables or tofu or any number of other things that aren’t made of flesh. You wanna talk prolonged intentional suffering, consider the beast of burden analogy i made alongside the food one. Relief from hauling stuff by yourself and having an animal do it for you is completely about pleasure. Sex isn’t merely about fun. It’s also a basic human need. Not as high up on the need hierarchy as food or water or air, but a need nonetheless. It’s a need can be denied with resulting in death, but there are other negative consequences to that.

  63. Kittens Are For Cuddling, Not Crushing [Do Not Want] | StalknBlog

    [...] Filipovich over at Feministe (a lawyer herself) has a look at the Constitutional issues at play and, despite her revulsion about the acts, thinks the law won’t pass muster when it comes [...]

  64. piny
    piny January 8, 2009 at 6:04 pm |

    Yes, we have some rather quaint blind spots about that (things already mentioned… it’s legal to poison rats and terrible things go on at feedlots and slaughterhouses)

    These “blind spots” are not small or scattered. They’re the rule, not the exception.

    It is only very recently that we have decided that animals are or should be morally distinct from objects. This idea that it’s wrong to sodomize livestock because you’re raping somebody? The idea that bestiality is similar to molestation? That animals should not be casually harmed, or that people who casually harm them are unfeeling or monstrous, that they are sociopaths? It’s a new thing, and it is still a barely-implemented idea. Categorical animal cruelty might become as quaint in America as scolds’ bridles or compulsory church attendance, but that’s not the present.

    The basic understanding is all over this comments thread. Try to imagine our reaction to bloodsports involving gladiators, if they occurred in public stadiums in 21st-century Spain: an unarmed man getting stabbed to death by several other men. Try to imagine a defense of that as an art form, here and now.

    And you’re doing it too. If you saw animal death and pain as remotely similar to human death and pain, you would not be handwaving over poisoned families and tortured mothers. And you wouldn’t be able to argue that livestock farming and pest control are minor practices–or even threatened in our country. If our culture really didn’t look like that, what would we call Tom DeLay? Probably not “The Bugman.”

    Even our arguments against animal-sadism or animal-brutality are frequently selfish. We don’t only condemn harming animals because animals suffer. We condemn it because we increasingly understand cruelty towards animals as a proxy act, because compartmentalization is not a workable solution. “Practice humans.”

    And again, I am not saying this to defend “crushing.” I’m not. Or to argue that sadism can’t be identified as a problem of its own, or that the psychological link between torture and torture does not exist.

    But we do not stop there when we are determining moral obligation towards human beings. We do not agree that a relative lack of suffering or a lack of proximity to suffering absolves us. That is not how we organize our understanding of unconscionable harm to people, and not how we define ideas like “torture,” “assault,” “murder,” and “massacre.” (At least, not in comments threads.) So long as that double standard exists, it will be an important part of any animal-rights discussion.

    Even one about the moral nuances of kitten stomping.

  65. spacedcowgirl
    spacedcowgirl January 8, 2009 at 11:55 pm |

    piny–but couldn’t you argue that humans and animals are different? I don’t have enough concrete knowledge about ethics to really argue this one way or the other, but for me personally, I don’t condemn bestiality because it is “raping somebody.” It’s because it is wrong in and of itself… and different from using animals for food because the intent is different. The choice of foods we eat now may be largely about pleasure because we have other options–at least in U.S. society–but it wasn’t that long ago that this basically wasn’t the case. And I do think that the idea that you shouldn’t casually harm animals (especially for “fun”) is far more established than the idea that you shouldn’t cause them undue pain or suffering during food production. Even greyhound racing–though frequently condemned–is nominally not about the pain of the dog, whereas these films are. Food animal production is even less about the pain of the animal. I don’t think we can just ignore those distinctions, even though I believe that decreasing animal pain and suffering is a valid goal regardless of why it is happening.

    Yes, we wouldn’t make remotely the same arguments about humans (it doesn’t really matter why you hurt or kill a human, we generally believe you shouldn’t do it… except in war, I guess), but I don’t see why humans and animals have to be absolutely parallel in every way for there to be a valid ethical issue.

    This to me is kind of like that slippery slope argument that says torturing animals should be discouraged because people who do it tend to go on to harm people (I just read back over your comment and I think this is the same as the “proxy humans” idea you bring up). Personally I don’t care whether this is true (and I’ve heard its validity is questionable)–I think it’s wrong to torture animals for recreation or pleasure or profit, in and of itself, and I guess I think this idea is much more entrenched by now even in our society than you do.

    And ephraim, come on, sex may be a basic human need but nobody truly needs another living being to suffer in order to have sex.

  66. Cole
    Cole January 11, 2009 at 2:09 am |

    “Personally I don’t care whether this is true (and I’ve heard its validity is questionable)–I think it’s wrong to torture animals for recreation or pleasure or profit, in and of itself, and I guess I think this idea is much more entrenched by now even in our society than you do.”

    All American large scale meat production relies on torturing animals for maximum profit so, no, the idea that it’s wrong to torture animals for profit is not at all entrenched in society. Yes, the pain isn’t the point of the food production, but it is still present to reduce costs (and therefore maximize profit.)

  67. Please don't throw bricks at me.
    Please don't throw bricks at me. February 2, 2009 at 3:15 am |

    Hello folks, I happen to be one of those horrible people who have a crush fetish. As best as I can recall, I did not wake up one day and decide I would be turned by seeing women step on things. I did not choose to get turned on by it. But for reasons unknown to me, I do get turned on about seeing (and fantasizing) women crush things. I no more chose to have a crush fetish than do people “choose” to be straight or gay.

    Having said that, I agree that torturing animals or people is wrong. I own pets, and have cared for animals my whole life. I never harmed or allowed anyone else to harm them. I’ve never paid anyone or otherwise arranged for animals to be harmed (with the exception that I do hunt small game for sport and consume what i kill). And yet despite that, I still have a crush fetish. Strange, don’t you think?

    People have been abusing and torturing animals since people walked on the earth. In the United States, we legally torture and slaughter animals every day. Society accepts this torture because its serves in the interests of society (food, product testing, medical research, etc). Society decides torture for these reasons is within the societal “norm”. Selling crush videos on the other hand serves no greater good. I think thats the funadmental difference. No one sells videos of cows being slaughtered for future delivery to Burger King. Why? because theres no market for it. Trust me though, if there were enough cliental of people willing to buy cow slaughter videos, you’d see web sites selling it.

    Crush videos make us uncomfortable because its sexual based and the internet put it right in the face of society. Consider the tens of millions of cows, chickens, turkeys, etc that are slaughtered every year for human consumption. Think of how many hamburgers you have ate in the course of your life time. How many cows have you actually seen slaughtered, or chickens killed? The answer for most of us is none. It’s done out of the way. We don’t want to see it. Would you feel differently about the killing of cows for food if you saw it up close? Would you still eat meat or would you be lobbying congress to bad the consumption of animals.

    I am in no way trying to justify that the torture and killing of animals for crush fetishism is acceptable. Its not. I just ask you consider if the torture and slaughter of animals for “normal” reasons is ok? And if its not, why do we accept it, especially since the ratio of animals killed for consuption and research astronomically exceeds the numer killed for the fetish market.

    As for the constitutional issue of banning depictions of animal cruelty vice the actual act, I’m sure the judges will happily argue the legal nuances of that for years to come. Semantics to me. Somethings just need to be outlawed.

    And yet still, I have a crush fetish. People are not one dimentional. And although we like to talk in terms of right and wrong, black and white, most of us live in the gray.

  68. Cindy
    Cindy May 7, 2009 at 2:26 am |

    Anyone torturing an innocent animal to satisfy a very sick and sadistic fetish like crushing should be apprehended, given a harsh sentence, and thrown in jail..and let them experience being stomped on repeatedly with a stiletto heel. There is NOTHING that can justify cruel treatment to a defenseless animal by a demented individual that seriously needs help.

  69. Dorne
    Dorne October 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm |

    I’m not surprised that there people that get their kicks from this kind of thing. It seems soceity will tolerate and perpetrate acts like this to satisfy the cravings of a few heartless individuals that condon the cruel and indecent treatment of animals. What does this say about lawyers and judges that will argue in favor of people that indulge in these activities. What message are we trying to send to our children and to anyone that thinks this kind of behavior is OK, I sugest you get some help. Even the most mentally challenged people in our soceity are inherently aware that these activities are wrong and for the people that are supposed to be setting an example and making laws for the rest us to live by, this is totally unacceptable.

  70. Dorne
    Dorne October 6, 2009 at 10:24 pm |

    I’m not surprised that there are people who get their kicks from torturing and mutillating animals. People like this are not new to soceity and it seems there is no shortage of them, however this does not make it right. One has to question the morals and sanity of lawyers and judges who argue in favor of these activities. For people who make laws and are supposed to be setting examples for the rest of us to live by, this is totally unacceptable. Even the most mentally challenged people in our soceity are inherently aware that these activities are wrong. To those who would condon these activities I suggest you get some help.

  71. When Animal Porn is A-OK: “3 Cats, 1 Steak” - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

    [...] video depictions of animal cruelty. The law was party inspired by the sensationalized “crush porn” craze. In crush porn, women stomp on small animals, in bare feet or in heels, in order for [...]

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