The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, S. 1831, earning praise from the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund. As the first-ever general federal animal cruelty bill, the PACT Act builds on the federal animal crush video law enacted in 2010, which banned the creation, sale and distribution of obscene videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or subjected to other forms of heinous cruelty. The PACT Act, introduced by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will prohibit those same extreme acts of animal cruelty when they occur in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether a video is produced, and those convicted of such abuse will face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.
Although the House is now out of session, a parallel bill introduced by Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas; Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; Tom Marino, R-Pa.; and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., has earned bipartisan support with more than 250 cosponsors. This legislation is also endorsed by 200 law enforcement agencies across the country. Few bills in the Congress have this level of bipartisan support.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS, said: “It’s long past time that Congress lets the FBI and U.S. Attorneys deal with particularly malicious and deviant acts of cruelty on federal property or that cross state lines—especially given the well-documented link between animal abuse and other forms of violent behavior. The Senate passage is a strong indicator of enormous bipartisan support, and we urge the Congress to take up this measure early in the new year and fortify the legal framework against cruelty in the United States.”
At a time when our nation is divided, opposition to animal cruelty is one of the ideas that unites us. Our nation should have a zero tolerance policy for malicious cruelty, and the PACT Act complements the work of the states in rooting out malicious mistreatment of animals.