AWI Urges House Vote on Eliminating "Crush Video" Loophole

Photo from Flickr by cdrussorusso

Washington, DC—Six months after the Senate unanimously adopted the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, the bill remains stalled in the US House of Representatives. In a letter issued today to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) urged him to advance this critical piece of animal welfare legislation by bringing the bill up for a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“We hope that Leader McCarthy will make this legislation a priority and schedule a vote for the House version of the bill, H.R. 1494,” said Cathy Liss, AWI president. “More than 60 percent of the House of Representatives have cosponsored this legislation, which is a sensible solution to a pressing issue in animal welfare.”

The PACT Act eliminates an unintended loophole under current law regarding “crush videos,” (i.e., videos in which individuals maliciously torture, mutilate, and kill small animals to cater to the sadistic fetishes of viewers). Current federal law bans the creation and distribution of such videos. However, the law does not address the underlying acts of animal abuse that these videos depict. If it is unclear where the abuse occurred, it can be difficult to prosecute the perpetrators under state anti-cruelty statutes. The PACT Act would extend federal jurisdiction to prohibit these heinous acts of animal cruelty while remaining consistent with other federal laws regulating animal cruelty in interstate commerce.

In its letter to McCarthy, AWI cited several other bills that have strong bipartisan support and equally deserve floor consideration:

  • Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (HR 909): The PAWS Act would make greater resources available to enable domestic violence victims and their companion animals to escape their abusers. Currently, the bill has 248 cosponsors—more than half of the US House of Representatives.
  • Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (HR 1456): The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act would make it illegal to buy or sell shark fins. Approximately 73 million sharks die each year for their fins—often removed while the shark is still conscious, after which the mutilated body is tossed back into the ocean to die. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has already passed its version of the bill; it is up to the House to act to end this cruelty. Currently, the bill has 238 cosponsors—more than half of the House.
  • Humane Cosmetics Act (HR 2790): The Humane Cosmetics Act would phase out inhumane and outdated animal-based testing for cosmetic products in the United States in favor of more accurate cutting-edge technologies. The legislation would eventually prohibit the sale in this country of cosmetics tested on animals in other countries, ensuring that only safe and humane products enter the American market. Currently, the bill has 173 cosponsors—more than one-third of the House.

Read AWI’s letter to Majority Leader McCarthy here.

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Media Contact

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, margie@awionline.org