On Monday, President Trump signed into law the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, a new federal ban on animal cruelty. O
It specifically outlaws the purposeful crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation, impalement or other violence causing “serious bodily injury” to animals, and violators could face jail time depending on the severity of the cruelty. In addition, the law makes ‘sexual exploitation of animals’ illegal in states that don’t already have that law on the books.
The Hartford Courant reported:
Since his election in 2010, [Blumenthal has] been the single most important and successful legislative architect of creating and upgrading our federal anti-cruelty laws. His latest success came last week, when he teamed up with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., to pass the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which establishes a federal anti-cruelty law for the first time in our republic’s history.
On its way to the president for signing, the PACT Act builds on a 2010 statute that bars the sale of videos showing illegal acts of animal cruelty.
Specifically, PACT would make it a federal crime to torture an animal in cases where acts of intentional cruelty affect interstate or foreign commerce, on federal property, or “in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
It also makes it a federal crime to engage in sexual exploitation of animals; Hawaii, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming have no laws banning bestiality.
In the last five years, he’s also led efforts to pass two upgrades of our federal law against animal fighting. Last December, with Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, he succeeded in adding an anti-animal fighting amendment to the Farm Bill — in that case, to apply all prohibitions against cockfighting and dogfighting to the U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).
Just two weeks ago, a U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico affirmed that the law does ban cockfighting in all five U.S. territories, none of which have enacted territorial bans on the blood sport. There are 71 cockfighting arenas operating in Puerto Rico alone, and there are dozens in the other territories. That means that Blumenthal’s upgrade of the law is one of the most consequential animal protection laws passed in recent decades.
The federal animal fighting law takes full effect on December 20, and the territories are obligated under the law to stop raising tens of thousands of fighting birds and shutter dozens of fighting arenas.
Five years earlier, Blumenthal was the author of a bill to make it a federal crime to attend or bring a minor to a dogfight or cockfight. This legislation allows the federal government to crack down on the entire cast of characters involved, since spectators represent the vast majority of people at these spectacles. It’s their participation that fuels the industry and makes it profitable.