Calling it a policy change that “should have happened a long time ago,” President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill led in part by Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey to outlaw a form of animal abuse known as “crushing.”
Known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, the legislation prohibits extreme acts of cruelty from taking place in interstate commerce or on federal property.
It’s intended to outlaw videos that show the maiming and killing of small animals. Sale and distribution of such material was banned in a 2010 law, but the act itself wasn’t criminalized. States have enacted similar laws.
The federal bill was unanimously approved in the House and Senate.
“It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty, which are totally unacceptable in a civilized society,” Trump said at Monday’s bill signing in the Oval Office.
Toomey, a Republican, had co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut. The new law will ensure that individuals found guilty of torturing animals face felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison, according to Toomey’s office.
Toomey was not present when for the signing ceremony at the White House, where the president was joined by a House Republican from Florida who co-sponsored the bill, Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, and representatives from the Humane Society and other animal advocacy groups.
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