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 DeutchBipartisan lawmakers condemn Iran, dispute State Department on number of protesters killed Bipartisan lawmakers introduce amendment affirming US commitment to military aid to Israel Ethics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette 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 TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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.