House Passes Animal Cruelty Measure

Washington Post writer Hannah Knowles reported yesterday that, “Many acts of animal cruelty are closer to becoming federal felonies after the House’s unanimous passage Tuesday of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.

“If passed by the Senate and enacted, the bill will outlaw purposeful crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation, impalement or other violence causing ‘serious bodily injury’ to animals. Violations could result in a fine as well as up to seven years’ imprisonment.

“Advocates say the PACT Act would fill crucial gaps in national law, which only bans animal fighting as well as the making and sharing of videos that show the kind of abuse the PACT Act would criminalize. All states have provisions against animal cruelty, said Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, but without a federal ban, it’s hard to prosecute cases that span different jurisdictions or that occur in airports, military bases and other places under federal purview.”

The Post article noted that, “The Senate has passed a companion bill to the PACT Act twice, making supporters optimistic that with the House version passed, the measure can sail into law. Advocates point to opposition from recently retired congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), a former House Judiciary Committee chairman, as blocking previous attempts to pass the bill in the House. The Post was unable to reach Goodlatte on Wednesday.

“The Senate now needs to vote again on its version of the bill, which lists 38 sponsors. Jason Attermann, a spokesman for Deutch, told The Post that PACT Act backers do not anticipate any hang-ups.”

Ms. Knowles added that, “The legislation outlines exemptions for humane euthanasia; slaughter for food; recreational activities such as hunting, trapping and fishing; medical and scientific research; ‘normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practice‘; and actions that are necessary ‘to protect the life or property of a person.'”

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