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Trumps signs bill, makes animal cruelty a federal crime

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 25: U.S. President Donald Trump poses with animal rights supporters after signing H.R. 724, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, in the Oval Office at the White House on November 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed a bill that makes certain acts of animal cruelty a federal felony, saying it’s important for the nation to combat “heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty.”

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act prohibits extreme acts of cruelty when they occur in interstate commerce or on federal property.

The legislation expands on a 2010 law that targeted videos depicting the crushing or torturing of animals, but that did not prohibit the underlying conduct. Under the new law, the underlying acts of cruelty would be a federal crime.

An array of animal rights groups attended a signing ceremony Monday in the Oval Office. Holly Gann of the Animal Wellness Foundation says the legislation will “better protect some of the most vulnerable among us.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) in a bipartisan effort.

“I’m grateful to see the PACT Act finally signed into law,” said Blumenthal. “The barbaric torture of animals has no place in a civilized society and should be a crime – and thanks to this new law, now it is.

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