US House Of Representatives Passes Bill Making Animal Cruelty A Federal Felony
The PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act was passed on Tuesday afternoon (22 October), and allows authorities to go after offenders as they will have federal jurisdiction - and therefore won't be bound by state laws.
The bipartisan act was introduced by Florida congressmen Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan, and revises a previous law passed in 2010.
Deutch said in a statement: "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."
He added: "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."
Buchanan also said: "The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
"Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated. Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I will continue to work with Congressman Deutch to get this important bill signed into law."
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2010's Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal.
However, the actual underlying acts of animal cruelty were not included.
According to a press release from Deutch, the PACT Act 'closes this loophole by prohibiting certain cases of animal abuse'.
A fact sheet outlining the bill also explains the purpose of the PACT Act is to 'strengthen' that 2010 law, making it a federal crime 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'.
The president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson, has praised the passing of the bill.
She said in a statement: "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."
Featured Image Credit: PA