US president Donald Trump has signed a bill making animal abuse – including the torture of animals for pornographic videos – a federal crime.
The creation and distribution of animal torture films – known as ‘animal crush’ – was outlawed by the 2010 the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act. But while the act outlawed the videos, the acts of animal cruelty were not banned.
The new bill makes acts of animal cruelty a felony for the first time, punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison.
The bill – called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act – was introduced by representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat.
Deutch said: “Special thank you to all the animal lovers everywhere who know this is simply the right thing to do. This is a major step to end animal abuse.”
‘Common sense legislation’
“This common-sense legislation restricts the creation and distribution of videos or images of animal torture,” Donald Trump said on Monday at the bill signing.
“It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty, which are totally unacceptable in a civilized society.”
He described it as a ‘very important bill’, saying it was ‘an honor’ to be involved with it.
The bill has been welcomed by animal protection campaigners, including Kitty Block, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, who said it made a ‘statement about American values’.
“The approval of this measure by the congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law,” she added.
“For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”