Blumenthal Announces Senate Passage of First Ever Federal Anti-Animal Cruelty Statute

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced today the United States Senate has unanimously passed his bipartisan Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. If signed into law, the measure would be the first-ever general federal anti-animal cruelty statute.

Blumenthal introduced the bill with Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). It would outlaw a heinous form of animal abuse known as "crushing," where deranged individuals maim and torture animals.

Despite taking steps in 2010 to ban the sale of videos depicting animal crushing, Congress failed to make the underlying act of crushing a federal crime. This means that--even when there is overwhelming evidence that torture is taking place--federal law enforcement is unable to protect animals from abuse or even arrest known abusers. The PACT Act would ensure that individuals found guilty of torturing animals face felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison.

“This bipartisan measure finally prohibits a heinous, inhumane practice--stating emphatically once and for all that there is no place in a civilized society for the maiming and torturing of animals,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “Thanks to the long overdue action of the Senate, the barbaric individuals who commit these crimes will no longer walk free. I call on the House to pass this important legislation immediately.”

"Animal crushing is absolutely disgusting and there is no place for this behavior in our society,” said Sen. Toomey. “It is long past time this abhorrent practice came to an end and I am glad the Senate once again took the next step towards advancing that goal. I am hopeful that this bipartisan bill will pass the House and finally get enacted into law."

“Our nation should have a zero tolerance policy for malicious cruelty to animals or sexual exploitation of defenseless creatures,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. ”We are immensely grateful to Senators Toomey and Blumenthal for leading this fight and securing this enormous win for animal welfare.”

The PACT Act is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, National Sheriffs' Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

A House companion bill has 262 cosponsors.