The House of Representatives unanimously passed a new bill that makes acts of animal cruelty a federal felony. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act was introduced by Florida congressmen Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan and would allow federal officials to prosecute people who crush, burn, drown, or sexually exploit animals.
"The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," Buchanan said. "Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated."
The law does make exceptions for hunting, trapping, fishing, pest control, and scientific research.
People convicted under the new law will face fines and up to seven years in jail.
The Senate must pass the measure before it can be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
"This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We've received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum," Deutch said in a statement. "I'm deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate's swift passage and the President's signature."
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