US President Donald Trump has signed a landmark bill into law, making abhorrent acts of animal cruelty a federal crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty And Torture (PACT) Act, the bi-partisan bill passed through the House and the Senate over the past two months.
With hopes the bill will stop people from sharing horrific footage of animal abuse, Trump said: ‘It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty.’
The PACT expands on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which deemed the creation and distribution of ‘animal crushing’ videos illegal. These acts, which were not included in the 2010 bill, are part of the new legislation.
Commenting on the bill yesterday, November 25, the president said:
Why hasn’t this happened a long time ago? Because Trump wasn’t president.
The term ‘animal crushing’, as per the bill text, refers to ‘actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury’.
The new legislation also makes it illegal for ‘any person to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce’.
Animal welfare advocate Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, told MailOnline:
I could not be more excited for President Trump to take this historic step today, publicly signing into law a bill tackling the nefarious and unacceptable world of animal cruelty.
Our companion pets are family members, and our working dogs are our heroes, and any movement to signal and enforce a positive environment for these great animals is a step in the right direction.
There are exceptions to the bill: hunting, trapping, fishing, a sporting activity not otherwise prohibited by federal law and slaughtering livestock, as well as medical or scientific research. Cases where the treatment of an animal would be ‘necessary to protect the life or property of a person’ are also excluded.
Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, one of the bill’s cosponsors (alongside Rep. Vern Buchanan) said ‘the torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law’, adding the signing of the bill is ‘a significant milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country’.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.