House Passes Bill to Make the 'Most Heinous' Animal Cruelty a Felony

If the PACT Act becomes law, the FBI would be able to arrest and prosecute those who intentionally torture and kill animals

South Korea Dog Meat Farm
Photo: Jean Chung/For HSI

Animals are one step closer to having more legal protection than ever before.

On Tuesday, the U.S. house voted to pass the PACT Act, a bill dedicated to making the “the worst and most malicious acts of animal cruelty, including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling,” a felony in America, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

HSUS is hopeful the companion version of this bill, sponsored in the House by Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., will pass in the Senate and become law, especially since the Senate has already unanimously passed the PACT Act in previous Congresses where the bill was not passed in the House.

If the the bill becomes law, there will be a federal anti-cruelty statute that would allow the FBI and other federal agencies to arrest and prosecute those who torture and kill innocent animals.

“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” Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said in a statement. “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.”

Currently, there is the federal animal crush video law, enacted in 2010, in place which bans the “the creation, sale and distribution of obscene videos that show live animals” being tortured and killed. This law helps to protect animals from unspeakable crimes, but left a loophole: Federal prosecutors can only go after those who create a video of animal cruelty.

“The PACT Act will remove that loophole by prohibiting these acts when they occur on federal property, such as federal prisons and national parks, regardless of whether a video has been produced. It would also allow federal authorities to crack down on animal cruelty that affects interstate or foreign commerce, including moving animals across state lines or information exchanged on websites that allows animal exploitation such as bestiality to occur,” HSUS reports.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, sees this bill as a welcomed opportunity to protect innocent animals.

“This is a chance for our nation to end the most heinous forms of intentional animal cruelty. It is a historic moment in our country when we can come together to protect those who have no voice. We are so close to ushering in a law that would generate monumental shifts in how those who commit animal torture are prosecuted,” Block said in a statement.

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