The Internet delivers an astounding array of images and ideas into homes across the world, but some of these images aren't particularly animal-friendly. In fact, some of what is being sold and shown online crosses into the realm of criminal activity
The Federal Government's "Crush Act" provides punishment, ranging in severity from a fine to five years in prison, for the display of acts of cruelty and sexual abuse intended for interstate commerce. "Crush" videos generally depict a woman, often in stiletto heels, stepping on small animals, typically rodents and kittens. The woman's face is almost never seen, with only a calf and a heel coming into the frame.
This statute, however, is only applicable to websites and videos in which actual abuse has been verified, and even more specifically, to these sites and manufacturers that intend to sell those images across state lines (i.e., via the Internet). A website like Bonsaikitten.com, which offers "rectilinear kittens" (computer-generated descriptions of kittens stuffed into glass jars) for sale, but provides no payment options or prices, is not prosecutable under the act because actual abuse does not take place. Hoaxes and parodies like Bonsaikitten.com, no matter how offensive, are exempt.