U.S. House passes bill to make animal cruelty a federal crime

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would make animal cruelty offenses a federal felony.

The vote on the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was unanimous, CNN reports. It must now go to the Senate, which is not currently scheduled to vote on it. According to the bill’s authors, the Senate passed an identical bill during the last session of Congress.

The act would revise a law passed in 2010, which criminalized the creation and sale of “crush videos,” that show animals being abused and killed. Federal law also prohibits animal fighting.

The PACT Act expands the ability for federal authorities to prosecute people for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or sexually exploiting them. However, there are exceptions for “normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal,” according to a release from the bill’s sponsors.

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