Big progress for animals in the United States! On Tuesday, October 22, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act), which would make animal abuse punishable as a felony at the federal level.

The act allows cases of severe animal abuse that occur across state lines or in areas under federal jurisdiction to be prosecuted in federal courts. Punishable acts include burning, crushing, mutilating, and killing animals and instances of sexual abuse.

While the bill has passed unanimously in the Senate twice before, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee did not support it. The current chairman, Representative Jerold Nadler (D-NY), co-sponsored the act, bringing new hope that the bill will finally become law.

In a press release, U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL), who headed the bipartisan legislation with Vern Buchanan (R-FL), said, “This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum.”

He continued, “Law enforcement officers have sought a federal overlay to help them stop animal abusers who are likely to commit acts of violence against people. And animal lovers everywhere know this is simply the right thing to do.”

Buchanan agrees. “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he says. “Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

While individual states have their own animal protection legislation, shockingly, no comprehensive law exists at the federal level. This act is sorely needed.

Thank you to the over 35,000 readers who signed our petition and to everyone at both the grassroots and governmental level who helped make this progress a reality. If you have not yet signed our petition, please do so to urge lawmakers pass the PACT Act and finally provide legal protection for animals nationwide.

SIGN: Make Animal Cruelty A Felony in the United States