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Federal Animal Cruelty and Torture Act Passes House!

Federal Animal Cruelty and Torture Act Passes House! 

Name: Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act

Bill Number: HR 724/S 479

On October 22, the U.S House voted to approve a new federal law to create an offense for animal cruelty. Under current federal law, it is unlawful to create or distribute “crush videos,” which depict individuals viciously torturing, mutilating, or killing small animals. However, this law does not include a provision to punish the individuals who are actually abusing the animals. This is because animal cruelty laws fall under the jurisdiction of individual state governments, as part of their police powers. These state laws vary greatly from state to state.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act would create a new federal animal cruelty offense that would allow charges to be brought against an individual who purposely crushes, burns, drowns, suffocates, impales or otherwise subjects a living animal (mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian) to serious bodily injury if the actions occur in or affect interstate or foreign commerce. While amending the “animal crush videos” law, this bill expands the definition of “crushing” to include actions that are separate from the production of a video depicting these crimes.

Because animal crushing is a criminal offense, it comes under the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement, allowing the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to investigate and prosecute these crimes, instead of relying on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enforce animal cruelty violations, as provided by the Animal Welfare Act.

The U.S. Senate passed similar legislation in 2016 and 2017, but has not yet taken action on S 479, the Senate version of the PACT Act. This is the first time the House has approved this measure, so it essential to let your Senators know that you hope they continue their support for passage of a federal animal cruelty law.


Call to Actions:

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Support passage of a federal animal cruelty bill

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, HR 724, passed by the House on Oct. 22. This legislation, also introduced in the Senate as S 479, has received overwhelming support in the Senate during the past two legislative sessions. I hope that you will once again vote "yes" on passage of this bill.

This legislation would allow federal animal abuse charges to be brought against individuals who purposely crush, burn, drown, suffocate, impale or otherwise subject to serious bodily injury a living animal (mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian) if their abusive action occurs in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

The PACT Act would establish a federal crime for animal cruelty and torture, allowing the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute cases of extreme cruelty against the perpetrators when they are engaged in interstate commerce. It would provide meaningful penalties for this type of abuse, while exempting veterinary practices, the slaughter of animals for food, hunting, trapping and scientific research.

I hope that you will give your full support to the passage of this federal animal cruelty measure, which is needed to protect the many animals involved in interstate commerce.

Thank you for your consideration of this important humane legislation.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]