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Bill criminalising video recorded animal cruelty pushed

The Philippines counts among several Asian countries, which is gradually recognising the rights and welfare of animals

Gulf News

Manila: A measure penalising video-recorded animal cruelty has been filed before the legislature, as proponents hope to send the message that hurting animals for fun and profit is not the work of a normal person.

Representatives Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde of the BUHAY co-authored House Bill 4595, which wants to put a stop in the production of so-called "animal crush videos" that certain Internet sites market in their webpages.

Tieng said animal crush videos cater to those with sexual fetishes, or unusual fondness to certain objects and living things to attain arousal.

Tieng certain sites upload videos of animal crush videos in exchange for a fee.

"The hapless victims are mostly dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, snakes, and frogs, depending on the specification of the patron," he said.

He cited the presence of certain video featuring Filipino women torturing an animal while clad in skimpy attire or regular dresses depending on the request of the customer.

The lawmaker said that while the video itself of scantily-clad Filipino women could, by itself, overstep the bounds of moral behaviour, killing animals and recording and watching the act on video is already beyond the norm.

"Animal crush videos are obscene in the sense that the depictions, taken as a whole, only appeal to prurient interests in sex. It is patently offensive, and lacks serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The videos are heinous, barbaric and completely unacceptable," Tieng said.

The bill proposed by Tieng and Mariano to be known as the "Anti-Animal Crush Video Act of 2011." It will impose penalties on anyone who creates, sells, markets, advertises, exchanges, or distributes an animal crush video.

Violators face a jail term of not more than seven years and a fine of not more than P300,000 (Dhs 6,976).

"Animal torture is outrageously disturbing. Common decency and morality dictate that those engaged in it should not be profiting from it, they should be imprisoned," Tieng said.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for its part, said it fully supports the proposal.

Ana Cabrera, the group's spokesperson, described animal crush videos as a "novel" way though up by abusers to impose cruelty on creatures which most people care for and regard as pets.

"Animal crush videos is not your typical, ‘run off the mill' type of cruelty such as beatings and simple neglect. It is an expression deepseated psychological anomaly on the part of the person or persons performing the act, as well as the viewers who derive pleasure from watching the video of pain being inflicted on a creature," she said adding that such actions are perversion of the highest order.

The Philippines counts among several Asian countries, which is gradually recognising the rights and welfare of animals.