The measure aims to strengthen a 2010 federal ban on animal “crushing” videos that was signed by President Barack Obama.
That law banned distributing or creating a video that shows an animal being “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” Those videos must also impact interstate commerce in order to grant the federal government the power to regulate them.
But that bill did not make the underlying abuse itself illegal at the federal level. The legislation from Buchanan, a Republicans and Deutch, a Democrat — titled the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act — will change that.
The PACT Act passed the House in late October. It moved onto the Senate, gaining approval by that body in early November. The legislation has now earned Trump’s signature.
“With President Trump signing the PACT Act, animal cruelty is no longer just unacceptable, it is now illegal,” Deutch said in a statement late Monday.
“We can now finally say that animal abuse is a federal crime in the United States. Americans have long stood in support of animal welfare protections, and now our national laws reflect these values. This bipartisan achievement has been years in the making, and I am proud to have been a part of this great effort alongside Congressman Buchanan and so many advocates and passionate citizens who made this possible.”
To be clear, animal cruelty wasn’t permissible before the passage of the PACT Act.
The issue is typically dealt with at the state level, though the strength of those measure varies by state. But the legislation from Buchanan and Deutch will add potential federal penalties as well.
Those penalties include fines, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.