U.S. Senate Passes Federal Animal Anti-Cruelty Bill

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act headed to the president’s desk.
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The PACT Act would prohibit extreme acts of cruelty when they occur in interstate commerce or on federal property and cracks down on widespread sexual abuse of animals (bestiality).

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act by unanimous consent. The bill, led by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would establish the first federal anti-cruelty law. The House of Representatives also recently passed a companion bill, led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and now the measure goes to President Trump for his signature.

“The U.S. is far overdue to establish a federal anti-cruelty law,” said Holly Gann, director of federal affairs at Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation. “We as a nation should have no tolerance for animal abuse, and the PACT Act will allow federal authorities to stop heinous crimes when they occur on the federal level. We applaud Senators Toomey and Blumenthal for their tremendous work to shepherd this bill to passage in the Senate.”

“There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals— period. I’m grateful to Sen. Toomey for his leadership, and glad that the PACT Act is finally becoming law,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The PACT Act would prohibit extreme acts of cruelty when they occur in interstate commerce or on federal property and cracks down on widespread sexual abuse of animals (bestiality). While current federal law bans the sale of videos showing illegal acts of cruelty, it does not prohibit the underlying conduct. Law enforcement agencies across the country, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the Animal Wellness National Law Enforcement Council, have endorsed the PACT Act because of the well-documented connection between animal cruelty and violence against people.

The bill obtained a tremendous showing of support with 302 cosponsors in the House and 41 in the Senate. The Senate bill previously passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the 114th and 115th Congress, but it was blocked in the House at that time by former House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) despite the overwhelming bipartisan support.

The organizations now urge the President to sign the bill to make it law.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

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