Full Statute Name:  United States Code Annotated. Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure. Part I. Crimes. Chapter 3. Animals, Birds, Fish, and Plants. § 48. Animal crushing

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Primary Citation:  18 U.S.C.A. § 48 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  February, 2020 Date Adopted:  1999 Historical: 
Summary: This federal law was amended in November 2019 to expand its prohibition on "animal crush videos" to "crushing" that affects interstate or foreign commerce or occurs within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. "Crushing" is defined as "actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 and including conduct that, if committed against a person and in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, would violate section 2241 or 2242." Exceptions exist for things like veterinary care, animal husbandry, animal slaughter, hunting and fishing, medical or scientific research, personal protection, and animal euthanasia. Violation incurs a fine or imprisonment for not more than 7 years or both fine and imprisonment.

(a) Offenses.--

(1) Crushing.--It shall be unlawful for any person to purposely engage in animal crushing in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

(2) Creation of animal crush videos.--It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly create an animal crush video, if--

(A) the person intends or has reason to know that the animal crush video will be distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce; or

(B) the animal crush video is distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.

(3) Distribution of animal crush videos.--It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, market, advertise, exchange, or distribute an animal crush video in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.

(b) Extraterritorial application.--This section applies to the knowing sale, marketing, advertising, exchange, distribution, or creation of an animal crush video outside of the United States, if--

(1) the person engaging in such conduct intends or has reason to know that the animal crush video will be transported into the United States or its territories or possessions; or

(2) the animal crush video is transported into the United States or its territories or possessions.

(c) Penalties.--Whoever violates this section shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 7 years, or both.

(d) Exceptions.--

(1) In general.--This section does not apply with regard to any conduct, or a visual depiction of that conduct, that is--

(A) a customary and normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practice;

(B) the slaughter of animals for food;

(C) hunting, trapping, fishing, a sporting activity not otherwise prohibited by Federal law, predator control, or pest control;

(D) medical or scientific research;

(E) necessary to protect the life or property of a person; or

(F) performed as part of euthanizing an animal.

(2) Good-faith distribution.--This section does not apply to the good-faith distribution of an animal crush video to--

(A) a law enforcement agency; or

(B) a third party for the sole purpose of analysis to determine if referral to a law enforcement agency is appropriate.

(3) Unintentional conduct.--This section does not apply to unintentional conduct that injures or kills an animal.

(4) Consistency with RFRA.--This section shall be enforced in a manner that is consistent with section 3 of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1).

(e) No preemption.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt the law of any State or local subdivision thereof to protect animals.

(f) Definitions.--In this section--

(1) the term “animal crushing” means actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 and including conduct that, if committed against a person and in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, would violate section 2241 or 2242);

(2) the term “animal crush video” means any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that--

(A) depicts animal crushing; and

(B) is obscene; and

(3) the term “euthanizing an animal” means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that--

(A) produces rapid unconsciousness and subsequent death without evidence of pain or distress; or

(B) uses anesthesia produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness and subsequent death.

CREDIT(S)
(Added Pub.L. 106-152, § 1(a), Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1732; amended Pub.L. 111-294, § 3(a), Dec. 9, 2010, 124 Stat. 3178; Pub.L. 116-72, § 2(a), Nov. 25, 2019, 133 Stat. 1151.)

VALIDITY
<The United States Supreme Court has held invalid a prior version of this section, as added by Pub.L. 106-152, § 1(a), Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1732. U.S. v. Stevens, U.S.2010, 559 U.S. 460, 130 S.Ct. 1577, 176 L. Ed. 2d 435.>

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