Providing new evidence that the last remaining thing we can all agree on is that animals are good, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a bill that would make animal cruelty a federal offense, broadening a 2010 law that banned videos of animals being tortured.
The original law, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, was a response to a rise in videos depicting animals being suffocated, burned, drowned, impaled and crushed. The law made it illegal to film or distribute these horrendous videos, but it doesn’t penalize the acts of animal torture. Two congressmen from Florida—Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Ted Deutch, a Democrat—worked together to expand the legislation through the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.
Under PACT, it would be a federal crime to torture animals or make “crush videos,” punishable with a fine and up to seven years of imprisonment.
“Today’s vote is a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets,” Deutch said in a public statement. “This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals.”
The Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs of America, Animal Wellness Foundation, and the Humane Society all issued statements supporting PACT.
Humane Society CEO Kitty Block and the president of the legislative fund, Sara Amundson, congratulated Buchanan and Deuth and praised the “watershed vote” in a blog post. “We know by now that animal cruelty is an indicator of social pathology and those who commit crimes against humans often start out by hurting animals,” Block and Amundson wrote. “It is a pattern of violence that is both common and well-documented, and it adds to the urgency of passing this commonsense law.”
In a public statement, Deuth indicated that he is optimistic that the bill will have a “swift passage” in the Senate. If so, the bill would then go to the desk of suspected dog-hater President Donald Trump.