President Trump this week signed into law The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), which now makes cruelty to animals a federal crime.
The legislation identifies “animal crushing,” the creation of animal crushing videos and the distribution of animal crushing videos as offenses punishable by fines and/or imprisonment up to seven years.
It 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.”
Animal welfare organizations said in media reports that though every state has existing laws addressing animal cruelty, a federal law was necessary to better prosecute violations that cross state lines.
“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “The approval of this measure by Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”
According to the Humane Society, PACT strengthens the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act by allowing federal law enforcement to prosecute the underlying acts of cruelty regardless of whether the abusers created the video of their conduct.