In December President Barack Obama signed into law a ban on the creation, sale, and distribution of "crush videos"—visual depictions of animals being tortured to death.
The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act carries with it a potential sentence of up to seven years in prison.
Crush videos are generally sold over the Internet and include photographs, videos, and electronic images of live animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, or impaled.
The bill was drafted in response to a Supreme Court ruling declaring the 1999 federal law regarding the depiction of animal cruelty was too broad and violated the First Amendment. The high court did, however, leave open a pathway for Congress to pass a more narrow law targeting crush videos and exempting visual depictions of hunting, trapping, and fishing.
The Senate gave its unanimous approval to the measure just days after the House passed the bill, with strong bipartisan support. The AVMA was among the many organizations urging Congress and the president to outlaw what the Humane Society of the United States called "intentional torture for sick entertainment and profit."