PACT Act: Animal welfare activists call on Trump to pass new bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony
The US House of Representatives passed the PACT Act bill this week in a massive win for animal rights and welfare
Animal rights advocates and activists all over the country are thrilled by the passing of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act by the US House of Representatives this week.
The passage of the bill is a massive win for animal rights and welfare and will make animal cruelty a federal felony. The PACT Act cracks down on extreme acts of cruelty on animals such as crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling live animals and sexually exploiting them.
The bill led by Florida Representative Ted Deutch (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) obtained 290 co-sponsors. This bill fills a loophole in the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act which was signed into law in 2010, said Richard Patch, vice president of federal affairs for the ASPCA.
The loophole did not provide an avenue for federal law enforcement to prosecute vicious acts of cruelty depicted in crush videos, only the sale of the videos.
PETA senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch also echoed similar emotions. All that remains is for the bill to be passed in the Senate and for Trump to sign it into law.
"PETA helped secure the first-ever federal prosecution in an animal 'crush' case, so we're delighted by the House's unanimous support of the PACT Act," she said, adding that the advocates hope to see the upper chamber take swift action to push it through.
"Since the Senate has already unanimously passed its companion bill twice before, we look forward to seeing the upper chamber take swift action and for President Trump to sign this bill into law so that those who crush, mutilate, and torture animals face federal prosecution," she said.
The bill not only makes horrible acts of animal cruelty a federal crime, but it also means increased funding and the ability to pursue culprits across state lines, said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane.
Although many states do have their own animal cruelty laws in place, because of multiple jurisdictions, they are often difficult to prosecute and the PACT Act would completely change that, Alicia Prygoski Legislative Affairs Manager of Animal Legal Defense Fund said, noting the fact.
"We are grateful to Representatives Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch for introducing this critical legislation that would spare a tremendous amount of animal suffering. We hope to see it swiftly passed by the Senate and signed into law," Prygoski said.
The PACT Act has garnered the support of the National Sheriffs' Association, the Fraternal Order of Police along with various law enforcement agencies in the country along with the Animal Wellness National Law Enforcement Council, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the National Children's Advocacy Center and Domestic Violence Intervention Services.
Research has shown a clear connection between animal cruelty and violence against other humans as well as the connection between bestiality and child abuse.
The PACT Act addresses the basic right of living a life free from acts of cruelty, said Becky Robinson, president and founder of global advocacy organizations for felines, Alley Cat Allies, a global advocacy organization that works to protect cats from being killed.
"Laws like this are important for our society because of the clear link between violence toward animals and violence toward people. Furthermore, it’s just as important for law enforcement to take animal cruelty seriously and punish violators because good laws alone won’t do the job without prosecution.”
This is an opportunity for the country to end the most heinous forms of animal cruelty and they should take it, says Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
Calling it a historic moment in the country to protect the voiceless, she said, "We are so close to ushering in a law that would generate monumental shifts in how those who commit animal torture are prosecuted."
The passage of the PACT Act would ensure that individuals found guilty of torturing animals face federal level felony charges, fines, and up to 7 years in prison, said Leah Craig Fieser from North Carolina's Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.
"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" said Sara Amundson, president, Humane Society Legislative Fund.
"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."