Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Humane Society Backs Buchanan/Deutch Bill to Stop Animal Torture

Jul 16, 2019
Press Release
Press Conference Highlights Need for Bipartisan PACT ACT

WASHINGTON -  Animal welfare leaders joined U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) at a Capitol Hill press conference Monday to urge passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.

Buchanan and Deutch are the sponsors of the bill, which now has 270 bipartisan cosponsors. The U.S. Humane Society joined Buchanan and Deutch to make the case for passage of the bill.

“Torturing innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Momentum is on our side as we near the 290 co-sponsors needed to ensure this bill is brought to the House floor. Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch and others on this important issue.”

In January, Buchanan and Deutch introduced the 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.

The 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. 

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 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.