Wednesday, August 25, 1999 Published at 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Rooney backs 'crush' video ban
Rooney dwarfed by a poster-sized crush video excerpt
Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney is calling for a ban on the production of "crush videos" - films for people that get sexually aroused by watching scantily-clad women smashing rats and other small animals.
"Put a stop, won't you, to crush videos," said the 78-year-old entertainer and animal rights activist at a news conference in California.
"What are we going to hand our children? This is what we're going to hand down, these videos, crush videos? God forbid."
He was speaking in front of a poster-sized photograph taken from a video that showed a woman's foot in platform shoes or stiletto heels, apparently crushing a rat or other rodents.
US animal cruelty laws outlaw the making of such videos, which are mainly sold over the Internet, but prosecution is difficult unless producers are caught in the act.
A proposed federal law would target distributors, said Republican congressman Elton Gallegly.
"It clearly is one of the sickest and most demented forms of animal cruelty that I've ever been exposed to," he added.
He has introduced a bill which would make it illegal to create, sell or possess any "depiction" of animals being tortured, maimed or killed for commercial purposes.
Jeff Vilencia, whose Squish Productions has made crush films of insects, said he doesn't plan to resume production unless the controversy is resolved.
"What about the fur industry, what about fishermen, what about the cattle industry?" Vilencia asked.
"The concern is you can kill anything you want, basically, in any manner you want if it's for food or for sport or for fashion, but you cross the line when you do it for sexual gratification."
He estimated there were fewer than 1,000 crush fetishists worldwide, based on his Internet contacts.
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