Finally, American Democrats have a reason to be happy with the Trump administration. President Trump signed the bipartisan PACT Act (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) into law, making it illegal to perpetrate animal cruelty on a federal level.
The bill was passed into law immediately. This means people found violating it can be prosecuted and fined at once. They also face up to 7 years in jail.
The President commented that he was pleased to sign PACT into law on November 25 and highlighted the need to combat “sadistic and heinous” acts of cruelty, which are completely unacceptable in a civilized country.
The History of PACT
The PACT Act was introduced earlier in 2019. It is an extension of a law passed by President Obama in 2010. PACT was passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Animal welfare activists and lawmakers held their breath as the bill slowly made its way to the President’s desk over the past several weeks.
The bill was written by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. Both authors were sure Trump would sign it into law.
Soon after the bill became law, Rep. Vern Buchanan tweeted, “President Trump just signed the #PACT Act into law, legislation that I introduced with my colleague @RepTedDeutch to make animal abuse a federal crime. This is a significant milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country.”
It was hardly a surprise considering that the bill had the unwavering support of Democrats and Republicans alike, both in the House and in the Senate.
What Does PACT Forbid?
The PACT Act specifically renders “animal crushing” illegal on a federal level. Animal crushing is when a living bird, non-human mammal, amphibian, or reptile is purposely crushed, drowned, burned, suffocated, or impaled, or serious bodily harm is otherwise inflicted upon it. The law also makes it a nationwide felony to distribute or create videos of animal crushing.
One important note is that PACT does not protect all animals in the country. Exceptions include slaughtering animals for food, treatment of livestock in the agriculture industry, procedures in the veterinary field or similar industries, trapping, hunting, and fishing. Self-defense, predator and pest control, euthanasia, and scientific or medical research do not fall under the scope of PACT either.
Reactions and Prospects
Surrounded by animal activists and legislators, the President basked in the limelight. U.S. Humane Society CEO Kitty Block described the signing as a watershed moment considering how vital the issue of animal protection has become to society. Gratitude was expressed for the signing, for legislators’ support, and for the support of the American nation.
The Humane Society tweeted, “This is a historic day for animals. We now have a federal anti-cruelty law that will enable persecution of some of the most severe and malicious acts of animal cruelty.”
One person who attended the signing commented that this was the “first ever law against cruelty to animals in the country’s history.” Trump supporters remarked that their president did more than anyone in history to stop animal cruelty and protect animals – with just a stroke of the pen. His critics did not stay silent, reminding of how his administration “gutted” the Endangered Species Act in August, weakening protection for threatened and endangered species a great deal and making it harder to add other animal species to the list.
Critics and supporters alike hope the PACT Act will continue to evolve and expand, offering animals even greater safety and protection in the years to come.