A federal law that criminalizes the sale of depictions of animal cruelty has been struck down as unconstitutional by an en banc panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a decision that overturned the conviction of a man who sold videos of dog fights — the first prosecution in the nation under the 1999 law.

But three dissenting judges said they believed the law was valid because the government has a “compelling interest in protecting animals from wanton acts of cruelty” and that the images prohibited under the law have “such minimal social value” that they don’t deserve protection under the First Amendment.

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