House Passes Bill To Make Animal Cruelty A Federal Crime

Following a new bill from the US House of Representatives, certain acts of animal cruelty are now a federal crime.

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The bi-partisan bill, also known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty And Torture (PACT) Act, was introduced Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla – a companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.

A dog is shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea, on Monday, May 7, 2018. The operation is part of HSIs efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia. In South Korea, the campaign includes working to raise awareness among Koreans about the plight of meat dogs being no different from the animals more and more of them are keeping as pets.
A dog is shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea, on Monday, May 7, 2018. The operation is part of HSIs efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia. In South Korea, the campaign includes working to raise awareness among Koreans about the plight of meat dogs being no different from the animals more and more of them are keeping as pets.

The PACT Act expands on 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which deemed the creation and distribution of ‘animal crushing’ videos illegal. These acts, which were not included in the 2010 bill, are part of the new legislation.

The term ‘animal crushing’ is defined in the bill text as ‘actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury,’ as per The Hill.

The new legislation also makes it illegal for ‘any person to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce,’ as ABC News reports.

Buchanan said of the bill: ‘The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.’

However, ‘hunting, trapping, fishing, a sporting activity not otherwise prohibited by federal law’ are exempt from the bill, as well as cases where it would be ‘necessary to protect the life or property of a person’.

In a statement, Deutch called the bill’s passage ‘a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets.

Cats
Cats

The statement added:

This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum. Animal rights activists have stood up for living things that do not have a voice.

I’m deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the President’s signature.

Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, also applauded the bill.

ULSTER Puppies
An unwanted puppy at the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Ballymena, Co Antrim. An unprecedented number of abandoned puppies has left the Northern Ireland shelter facing a major task to find new owners, Tuesday December 27, 2005. The centre will be closed until January 3 as staff try to set up a new life for all pets dumped either side of Christmas. The centre took in 35 young dogs before the festive period reached its peak – around 80% of its normal capacity. See PA story ULSTER Puppies.

Amundson said: 

Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have encountered terrible animal cruelties, but acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society.

These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice.

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