06 December 2019

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3 Dec  2019 84

Animal cruelty now punishable by up to seven years in prison in US

In a rare display of political unity, Donald Trump on Monday signed a bipartisan bill that, for the first time, makes acts of animal cruelty a federal crime punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison.

Photo independent.co.uk

The bill, called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, was introduced in the house this year by two Florida lawmakers — representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat. It expands a 2010 law signed by Barack Obama that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture, Independent reports.

Now, intentional acts of cruelty shown in the videos are also felony offences.

“This is a very important bill and it’s an honour to be involved with it,” Mr Trump said at a signing ceremony Monday. “I’m glad we got it done.”

The bill was passed unanimously by a voice vote in the house in October. It was passed unanimously by the senate in November.

The bill would not apply to people who slaughter animals for food or to those who hunt, trap and fish.

Federal action addressing animal cruelty stretches back to the late 1990s, after the Humane Society of the United States began investigating “crush videos,” in which animals are tortured or killed, often under a woman’s foot, in the service of a sexual fetish.

The federal government enacted a law in 1999 that made the production and sale of such videos a federal crime. But in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds after some argued it was overly broad.

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