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Bill Passes to Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Offense

Monday, November 25, 2019  
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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Oct. 22 to pass the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (HR 724/S 479), which would designate animal cruelty as a federal offense. The U.S. Senate, which had twice passed previous versions of the PACT Act, voted Nov. 5 to pass the current version. At press time in early November, the bill was headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

“This bill revises and expands criminal provisions with respect to animal crushing,” according to a summary by the Congressional Research Service. “It retains existing criminal offenses that prohibit knowingly creating or distributing an animal crush video using interstate commerce. The bill also adds a new provision to criminalize an intentional act of animal crushing.”

The act defines animal crushing 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.”

Dr. John Howe, AVMA president, said in a statement: “This legislation also provides key safeguards to ensure enforcement correctly targets bad actors without incidentally ensnaring farmers and ranchers, hunters, researchers, or other groups.”

Every state and the District of Columbia have felony penalties for animal cruelty.

 

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association