There is nothing more cruel than to hurt a creature that cannot defend themselves. Locked up in dirty cages and ill-treated by abusive humans, these innocent creatures are left to die by people who don’t mind exploiting them for their own benefit. While we have laws in place to protect violence against human beings, the cries of these animals often go ignored due to lack of concrete laws against animal cruelty.
Hundreds of thousands of animals fall victim to cruelty and abuse every single year. Various industrial and domestic practices that skirt the law leave the helpless creatures to a life of abuse and neglect. But not for long. A recent bill passed by the House of Representatives seeks to bring them justice, according to ABC News.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) was passed unanimously by all members of the House, hoping to bring justice to these innocent, harmless creatures that are unable to defend themselves.
Here are a few shocking statistics and evidence that will open your eyes to the gravity of this issue.
-Dogfighting, introduced in the US in the 1860s has been reported in urban, rural and suburban settings
-About 900 to 2,000 estimated cases of animal hoarding are reported in the US, though estimates indicate about 250,000 animals are victimized every single year
-Thousands of greyhounds die each other due to “selective breeding”
-Major circus violates even the minimal care standard for animals set by the United States Animal Welfare
Considering these problems prevalent in the US, the House of Representatives passed the new bill against animal abuse.
Under the pact passed on the afternoon of 22 October 2019, acts of animal cruelty will be a federal crime. Any person who intentionally engages in acts of animal cruelty such as burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise injuring “non-mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians,” will be punished.
Those caught with the offense can face criminal penalties of a fine or may even end up in prison for up to seven years, in addition to paying a fine.
The pact is the extension to the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act that criminalized the creation and distribution of “animal crushing” videos. However, the new bill is limited to interstate commerce and federal property. It would not interfere with the local legislation. It was the result of the bi-partisan bill introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla, and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.
“This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum. I’m deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the President’s signature,” said Deutch in a statement.
Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I will continue to work with Congressman Deutch to get this important bill signed into law,” said Buchanan to CBS News.
Though the bill needs to be passed by the Senate to become a law, various animal rights organizations and activists have already expressed their joy and gratitude to the members of the House. “With the House passage of the PACT Act, we are one step closer to a federal law protecting animals from one of the most brutal acts of cruelty, and we thank Representatives Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan for introducing this bill as well as their continued leadership on animal protection,” said Richard Patch, vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson also applauded the initiative, “Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have encountered terrible animal cruelties, but acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society. These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action.”
“Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice,” Amundson concluded.