Supreme Court Hearing on Animal Cruelty Case

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    Oct 1, 2007
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    Safari Club Attends Supreme Court Hearing on Animal Cruelty Case

    Safari Club International (SCI) was in attendance when the Supreme Court’s Oct. 6 heard oral argument in a case involving a federal law (16 U.S.C. § 48, or “Section 48”) that potentially criminalizes the distribution of certain hunting videos. SCI filed an amicus brief that supported striking down the law. Section 48 makes it a crime (punishable by up to five years in prison) to distribute or sell a depiction of animal cruelty. The problem with Section 48 is that it is too broadly written. It defines "depiction of animal cruelty" as an image (e.g., a video) showing the wounding or killing a live animal if the conduct in the video would be illegal under any federal or state law. Thus, a video of a legal black bear hunt in Pennsylvania would potentially violate Section 48 if sold in New Jersey (where bear hunting is illegal). Based on the questions they asked during the hearing, the Justices were obviously aware that Section 48 potentially criminalizes the distribution or sale of some hunting videos or TV shows. The attorney who presented the argument against Section 48 mentioned Safari Club International by name and many of the Justices’ questions appeared drawn from examples identified in SCI’s amicus brief. SCI expects a decision from the Court within the next 3-6 months. Attached is a the transcript of the Supreme Court hearing.

    Source: Safari Club international (SCI)

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