The United States Senate passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act by unanimous consent.
The bill strengthens a 2010 law that bans the creation and/or distribution of video that depicts “non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians” being “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury” in an “obscene” manner and is carried out in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce. Yet, the 2010 law does not make the acts themselves a federal crime. If enacted into law, the PACT Act closes the loophole.
“There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals, period,” says Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill.
Those convicted under the PACT Act would face federal felony charges, fines and as much as 7 years in prison.
“Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people,” says Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., the bill’s author. “It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”
If President Donald Trump signs the bill, authorities will have federal jurisdiction to prosecute suspects and will not be bound by state laws.
The legislation contains exceptions for hunting.