Quantcast

'Commonsense' Bill Would Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Crime

Animals
"The torture of animals should be a federal crime with stiff penalties," said Rep. Buchanan. Pixabay

In Dec. 2010, President Obama signed a law that made it a federal crime to create and distribute animal torture videos. That law, however, did not ban the underlying act of animal torture itself.

That's why Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) re-introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or (PACT) Act that prohibits "intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm," according to a press release, and makes it easier to prosecute those involved in the horrific acts.


Those who are convicted face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years of jail.

While all 50 states have their own laws against animal cruelty, and an existing federal law prohibits animal fighting, the PACT Act will allow prosecutors to go after criminals who torture animals across state lines and on federal property, CNN noted.

According to the bill's text, it criminalizes those who "intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce."

"The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," Rep. Buchanan said in the press release. "Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue."

Rep. Deutch called the legislation a "commonsense" effort to "bring some compassion to our animal laws."

"For many Americans, animal welfare is an important policy issue, and the idea of animal abuse is abhorrent," he continued. "By building on state and local laws, Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts. We've acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it's time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well."

The legislation includes exceptions "for normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal," the press release said.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States.

"All 50 states now have felony penalties for malicious cruelty, and there are federal statutes on animal fighting and crush videos," the Humane Society wrote in a petition to draw support for the bill. "But there is no federal law prohibiting the underlying act of malicious cruelty when it occurs on federal property or in interstate commerce, and we need to close this gap."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A vegan diet can improve your health, but experts say it's important to keep track of nutrients and protein. Getty Images

By Dan Gray

  • Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
  • A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
  • It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.

New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.

Read More Show Less
Students gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC, Sept. 20. NRDC

By Jeff Turrentine

Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
samael334 / iStock / Getty Images

By Ruairi Robertson, PhD

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

Read More Show Less
A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less