Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan, Deutch Introduce Bill to Combat Animal Cruelty

Jan 23, 2019
Press Release
Bans Depraved Forms of Killing & Torture of Innocent Animals

 

WASHINGTON - Congressmen Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) today introduced the "Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act" to outlaw and make it easier to prosecute those involved in the gruesome killing of animals.

Disturbingly, in so-called “animal crush videos,” individuals brutally kill, mutilate and torture small and defenseless animals as a perverse form of entertainment to be shared over the internet. And while Congress passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the creation and distribution of these horrific videos, the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law.

Buchanan’s legislation will close those loopholes by prohibiting the underlying acts of torture themselves, regardless of whether or not a video is created. Specifically, the PACT Act will amend the federal criminal code to prohibit the intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. 

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue.”

"This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws," Deutch said. "For many Americans, animal welfare is an important policy issue, and the idea of animal abuse is abhorrent. By building on state and local laws, Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts. We've acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it's time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well."

Sara Amundson, President, Humane Society Legislative Fund, said, “Decades ago the Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized the seriousness of animal cruelty and its link to escalating violence toward humans. Representatives Deutch and Buchanan are tremendous advocates for animal protection, and we are grateful to them for seeking to eradicate malicious cruelty.”

In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation, sale and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, these depraved acts of cruelty against animals remain legal. Buchanan was a co-sponsor of the legislation when it passed the House in 2010. The PACT Act builds on the 2010 law by closing this loophole and prohibiting certain cases of animal abuse.

The bill contains exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.

The legislation has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States. Animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes, one study found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had committed violent crimes against humans.

An identical bill passed the Senate during the last session of Congress.

Buchanan chairs the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress and received a 100 percent score from the Humane Society for his leadership and votes in 2018. He is also a past recipient of the Humane Society’s “Legislator of the Year” award.

President Trump recently signed Buchanan’s Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018 into law. The bill amends the federal Animal Welfare Act to make it illegal to knowingly slaughter, transport, possess, buy, sell or donate dogs or cats or their parts for human consumption.