The U. S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would make animal abuse a federal felony.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty Act, or PACT act, would outlaw “crushing, burning, drowning and impaling animals,” according to CNN.
The legislation includes exemptions for “hunting, trapping, fishing, a sporting activity not otherwise prohibited by federal law,” and pest control and scientific research, The Hill reported.
The bill allows authorities to cross state lines to track down animal abusers and would close another loophole, according to one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla, who told CNN it would also outlaw videos showing animal abuse and torture.
The “torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said in a statement, The Hill reported.
“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,” he said.
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla, who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement its passage represents “a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets.”
“This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals,” Deutch said.
He said he’s heard from Americans across the political spectrum who support the legislation.
The bill now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to pass, along with a companion bill that contains President Donald Trump’s signature, according to The Hill.
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