House passes bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony

House passes bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony
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The House has voted unanimously to pass legislation that seeks to make animal abuse a federal offense nationwide. 

The bill, also known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty And Torture (PACT) Act, was introduced by Reps. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOcasio-Cortez knocks Pence: 'Utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response' Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Florida 'red flag' law has removed hundreds of guns: report MORE (D-Fla.) and Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R-Fla.) earlier this year and would make “animal crushing” a federal crime, if signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE.

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The term “animal crushing” refers to numerous acts of animal abuses in the bill text, defined 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."

However, the bill states that it includes some exemptions for “hunting, trapping, fishing, a sporting activity not otherwise prohibited by federal law,” as well as pest control and scientific research. The legislation also states that it wouldn’t apply in cases where it is "necessary to protect the life or property of a person.” 

The bill, if passed, would also make it unlawful for any person to knowingly create “an animal crush video.”

Deutch called the bill’s passage “a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets” 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 continued. “Animal rights activists have stood up for living things that do not have a voice.”

Deutch went on to say that he looks forward to the bill’s passage in the Senate, where a companion bill has also been introduced, with Trump’s signature.

Buchanan said in a statement that 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,” he added.