A week doesn't go by that we at Animal Rights Online
don't receive at least one request for information on how to stop the
cruelty at the Bonsai Kitty website. For those who haven't seen it,
please don't give the webmaster the satisfaction of your visiting the
site. For those that have seen it, the following letters from PeTA and
the ASPCA may answer some of your questions:
Thank you for contacting us about BonsaiKitten.com. We
share your disgust with this disturbing Web site and are extremely
concerned about its influence. Please file a complaint at the following
Web site: www.ifccfbi.gov. This is a reporting center Web site set up by
the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for Internet fraud and other
forms of Internet crime.
Although we have found this site to be a "joke," we
still feel it is inappropriate and certainly not funny. The Humane
Society of the United States (HSUS) investigated the origin of the site
and found that the name and address under which the site is registered,
a "Dr. Michael Wong in New York," is false information. The site was
reportedly created by a student at M.I.T. as a joke among friends. When
this site initially appeared in December, a local humane organization
did get involved on a local level in checking out this person but
discovered no evidence of actual animal abuse having occurred. We
believe that the Web site's creator was simply trying to generate
attention by upsetting people who care about animals.
So far, it has been an uphill battle, as the only law
that even remotely covers issues like this is a law that covers e-mailed
obscenities; therefore, if the site is not in violation of the host's
user agreement, no law is being violated, and the site can remain up. As
you may know, this site has been closed down at least twice before but
continues to reappear with different Web addresses. If enough people
file complaints with the FBI, stressing the influence it may have on
cases of actual cruelty, maybe it will be removed permanently.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us about
this issue and for all you do to help animals.
Kelly S. Cunningham
757-622-7382, ext. 398
<> <> <> <> <> <>
The ASPCA Speaks Out Against Bonsai Kitten
Presents Steps to Encourage Shutdown of Offensive Website
The ASPCA shares your anger and concern about the Bonsai
Kitten website. Our investigation of this website showed that it was
false and bogus. It is a "joke" website that is mired in poor taste and
immature humor that is obviously the creation of an uninformed
individual with too much time on his hands.
We appreciate your effort in contacting us, and would
like to pass to you some general information on how to fight against
this and other sites which you may encounter. Unfortunately, new ones
appear every day.
While internet technology has made a positive
contribution to our society, it has also resulted in the rapid expansion
of publicity for individuals who promote animal abuse. Moreover, thanks
to the active participation of web-users such as yourselves, the
above-mentioned website has been forced to shut down and move a number
In the United States, individuals have the
constitutional right to Freedom of Speech and therefore, they may
discuss and advocate for animal abuse on the Internet and in other
public forums. If they go beyond words and speech and actually practice
what they preach, animal cruelty is a crime in every state.
A 1999 federal law bans the knowing creation, sale or
possession of depictions animal cruelty, with the intention of placing
the depiction into interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain.
The new law covers any visual or auditory depiction of intentionally
maiming, mutilating, torturing, wounding or killing a live animal. If
the conduct in the depiction is illegal under federal law, or state law
in the state where the creation, sale or possession takes place, then
this new law will apply.
The place where the actual animal cruelty took place is
not significant under this statute. Anyone convicted of the interstate
or foreign sale of these depictions of animal cruelty can be faced with
a fine, or up to a five year prison sentence. Exception is made for
depictions serious with religious, political, scientific, educational,
journalistic, historical or artistic value.
We encourage concerned citizens to write the various
internet service providers which host these websites that advocate
animal abuse. You can find the address of the provider by connecting
with Network Solutions and inputting the name of the website. PLEASE
NOTE that Network Solutions is not responsible in any way for the
content of the websites they register. Remember, Network Solutions is
also the ASPCA's registrar and a very fine company.
We also suggest that you contact local and national
media organizations to make them aware of these sites. Finally, you may
want to write the online providers with which you regularly do business
to encourage them to screen their own sites and not allow websites which
promote animal cruelty.
If you have concrete information that an individual is
engaged in the creation, sale or possession (with intent to sell) of
these depictions of cruelty, and you know the city in which this person
lives, the most effective response remains with traditional measures.
While the ASPCA is a national organization in many respects, our powers
to enforce animal cruelty statutes are limited by law to the State of
New York. We care, however, that acts of animal cruelty and neglect be
addressed wherever they occur. In this situation, we would urge that you
contact any or all of the following organizations and advise them of the
facts of the situation:
For more information, please visit these websites:
ZDNet: Bonsai Kitten: An Obvious Hoax
Wired.com: FBI Goes After Bonsaikitten.com
© 2000 The American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animal
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