Take action on a federal bill aimed at curbing—and punishing—acts of extreme cruelty against animals.
Animal cruelty laws are primarily a function of state government. And since those laws can vary from state to state, enforcement of acts of animal cruelty can go unpunished.
One such instance involves “crush videos,” which depict the cruel torture, and usually the death, of small animals. Currently, the distributors of these videos can be prosecuted under federal law. However, prosecution of the creators of the videos—those who, in most cases, are the people actually harming and killing the animals—is left to a patchwork of inconsistent state animal cruelty laws.
The newly-reintroduced Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, (HR 724), would close this loophole by creating a new federal offense that would allow charges to be brought against an individual who purposely crushes, burns, drowns, suffocates, impales or otherwise subjects to serious bodily injury an animal if the action occurs in or affects interstate or foreign commerce. This new provision does not require that a video be made of the abuse.
Because this provision is part of the federal criminal code, violations of the PACT Act would be subject to FBI investigations—and U.S. Attorney prosecutions. Typically, allegations of institutional abuse to animals would be investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates the entertainment industry and large-scale breeders. However, the USDA has a poor record of enforcement regarding animal abuse and lacks authority to charge violators with significant criminal penalties. The PACT Act will put the power to punish these animal abusers under the control of the nation’s top law enforcers.