Ask Congress to Outlaw Heinous Acts of Animal Cruelty

Photo from Flickr by cdrussorusso

Dear Humanitarian,

The Senate has passed S. 654, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. The House of Representatives has to act next on its version of the bill, HR 1494. Please ask your representative to help get this important piece of legislation to the floor quickly!

In so-called “crush videos,” individuals viciously torture, mutilate, and kill small animals to satisfy the bizarre fetishes of viewers. The federal law prohibiting the creation and distribution of these videos does not cover the underlying acts of animal abuse.  Federal jurisdiction is appropriate given the interstate nature of this market.  Moreover, when it is not possible to identify where the crime was committed, it is also not possible to identify which state or locality would have law enforcement jurisdiction. The PACT Act would extend federal jurisdiction to these specific and particularly heinous crimes, regardless of the circumstances under which they are committed.

Preventing and punishing such cruelty is both an animal welfare and a public health imperative. More and more, the law enforcement and legal communities recognize that animal cruelty is both a serious crime in and of itself, and a precursor to other violent crimes. The evidence is compelling. For example:

  • Many studies substantiate the relationship between animal cruelty and family violence; for instance, 71 percent of pet-owning domestic violence survivors reported that their abusers had threatened, injured, or killed their pets.
  • Animal abuse is one of four significant predictors of who is likely to become a batterer.
  • One study showed that animal abusers are five times more likely than nonabusers to commit other violent crimes.
  • In further recognition of the seriousness of this crime, the FBI has added animal cruelty to the Uniform Crime Report.

By providing law enforcement and the criminal justice system with another tool for responding to the unspeakable acts of animal cruelty, the PACT Act would protect our communities from many types of violence.

What You Can Do

Please ask your US representative to contact House leadership and request that HR 1494 be brought to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible, and also to vote for the bill when it does come to the floor.

You can contact your legislator through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here.

>Be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian alert with family, friends, and co-workers and encourage them to write, too! As always, thank you for taking action on behalf of the animals.


Cathy Liss