In the past, animals, especially dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cows, goats, pigs, etc., were viewed as nothing but the property of man, to do what he or she pleased with no consequences. But in the 20th century, people started to acknowledge how animals were living beings with feelings and how they deserved to be treated with love and respect, not neglected, malnourished, abused, or tortured.
Soon, states began passing laws that criminalized animal abuse, but there was still much work to do. Animal abuse is a common and widespread problem all over the world, and the United States is no exception. This is why animal rights activists have been pushing hard for legislation that punishes people for the unethical treatment of animals. In 2019, the United States made a huge stride in its animal cruelty legislation by criminalizing it under federal law.
Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act
In November of 2019, President Trump signed a new law that makes animal cruelty a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), introduced by Ted Deutch, F-Fla, and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., bans people from burning, drowning, crushing, suffocating, and causing other serious harms to mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians alike. And what about all those animal abuse videos circulating on social media glorifying animal abuse and cruelty? Well, the new law bans those too.
Under the Act, it’s against the law for anyone to photograph or film anything that depicts animal cruelty. When someone violates the federal law, they can face fines or up to seven years in prison, or both a fine and imprisonment.
“Humane groups that worked for the bill’s passage are hailing the new law as a defining moment for establishing federal protections for animals. While all 50 states have felony provisions against animal cruelty, there’s no federal ban against animal cruelty and torture. There was a gap in the law.
“As a result of the PACT Act, federal law enforcement and prosecutors will finally have the tools they need to go after those who commit malicious acts of animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction with the full force of felony penalties,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“We cannot change the horrors of what animals have endured in the past, but we can crack down on these crimes moving forward,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
To see California’s law against animal cruelty, click here.