The PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act

I saw this in the news recently and it struck me as odd—odd that, in 2019, we are just getting around to passing this important legislation.

In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act banning the creation and distribution of something called Crush Videos, videos in which individuals torture, mutilate, and kill small animals. (Good Lord! What is wrong with people?) Unfortunately, this law was struck down by the courts as being overly broad and invalid under the first amendment.

While all 50 states have felony penalties for malicious cruelty to animals, states cannot prohibit cruelty that occurs in interstate commerce or across state lines. And when it is not known where the actual acts of cruelty took place, it can be hard to bring a case under state law.

The PACT Act will close these loopholes. It will enable federal intervention when the cruelty extends beyond the reach or resources of state prosecutors and provide for felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison. In further recognition of seriousness of this crime, the FBI has added animal cruelty to its National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS.

Most astonishing to me is that, according to news reports, the (PACT) Act has passed the Senate twice, but has yet to pass the U.S. House of Representative. The bill’s numerous supporters are confident this reintroduction will lead to law. In the last Congress the House bill had 284 bipartisan cosponsors, but was held up by a committee chairman who has since retired. I hope they can get their act together this time. I hate to think what might be happening to some innocent animals while Lawmakers dither.

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