Trump Signs Historic Bill Making Cruelty To Animals A Federal Crime
Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act passed by Senate
President Donald Trump signed the first animal cruelty bill of his presidency on Monday, which effectively outlaws violence against animals usually committed for the purpose of videotaping them.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was passed unanimously by the Senate this month following a similar House vote last month.
The law applies to non-human mammals, including birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
The act was built on a law that criminalized the distribution of so-called 'crush' videos in 2010 - videos which are meant for the purpose of satisfying extreme sexual fetishes- by also banning the production of such films.
The cruel 'crush' videos consist of the videotaping of a small animal being killed by being crushed.
The new law also expands the definition to include animals that are 'crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to serious bodily injury.'
President Trump stated the new bill would prevent people from sharing footage depicting such animal cruelty:
"It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty," the President said.
Lara Trump, who is an Animal welfare advocate, said she was proud her father-in-law put his signature on the legislation.
"I could not be more excited for President Trump to take this historic step today, publicly signing into law a bill tackling the nefarious and unacceptable world of animal cruelty," she said in a statement.
"Our companion pets are family members, and our working dogs are our heroes, and any movement to signal and enforce a positive environment for these great animals is a step in the right direction," Ms. Trump added.
The historic law was also praised by Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, along with the head of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson.
"PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level," Block said in a statement.
"The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality."
"After decades of work to protect animals and bearing witness to some of the worst cruelty, it’s so gratifying the Congress and president unanimously agreed that it was time to close the gap in the law and make malicious animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction a felony," Amundson said.
"We cannot change the horrors of what animals have endured in the past, but we can crack down on these crimes moving forward. This is a day to celebrate."
The law also expands on a wide variety of activity for exemptions, which include:
And medical or scientific research.
Also exempt are customary and normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practices.
Anything that is deemed 'necessary to protect the life or property of a person' is also exempt.
The president asked on Monday, "why hasn’t this happened a long time ago?"
"Because Trump wasn’t president," he added.
The new law has a maximum penalty of fines and up to seven years in prison.
Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida said:
"The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Signing this bill into law is a significant milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country."
Federal prosecutors have produced cases against producers of 'crush' videos since the bill was originally signed into law.
In 2015, one woman who filmed herself torturing and maiming animals pleaded guilty to federal charges.