WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT: NSW has become the first Australian state to ban a horrific form of sexually violent animal-fetish content.
Known as “crush”, the outlawed videos often feature a participant, usually a woman, killing or torturing an animal using her feet or another body part.
Although animal cruelty is outlawed in Australia, possessing crush videos had not specifically been banned in any state or territory.
Through an amendment to the state’s Crimes Act, NSW has also banned bestiality content which depicts sexual acts between humans and animals.
The decision follows a long-running campaign by Animal Justice Party (AJP) MP Emma Hurst which began after her team uncovered horrifying online content involving cats, dogs, rabbits, fish and snails.
She welcomed the laws, saying such material has been "easily available" for Australians to download or watch.
Investigators hired by the AJP found videos were often sold online using Bitcoin and ranged in price from US$3 to $100, with an option to order custom content.
Most crush and bestiality content offered in Australia was found to have been created overseas, but the new laws will stop locals from supporting the industry by purchasing videos.
Animal abusers to face jail time under amendment
Material relating to animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise killed or subjected to serious injury will be banned.
Using language drawn from NSW child pornography laws, the amendment specifically relates to material which gratifies a sexual or sadistic interest.
Those convicted of the new offence face a maximum penalty of five years jail for production and dissemination, or three years for possession.
Defences against prosecution include law enforcement as well as the creation of films, publications and video games which have received a ratings classification by the Commonwealth.
'Won't rest' until similar laws passed across Australia
While the United States and Greece have both banned animal crush videos, other jurisdictions have been slow to combat the sadistic content niche.
Ms Hurst said in a statement she “won’t rest” until similar laws are passed around Australia to protect animals from sexual abuse.
“It is shocking that this amendment was even required,” she said.
“This was a dangerous gap in our laws that needed to be urgently fixed.
“In addition to the terrible suffering of the animals involved, there is a well-established link between animal sadism and violence against humans, making it an important warning sign of other violent crimes.”
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