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March 16, 2017

Toomey: Make the cruel 'animal crush' fetish a federal crime

Laws Animal Cruelty
Pat Toomey Courtesy of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office/for PhillyVoice

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) fields questions during a 'tele-townhall' event on Thursday, February 16, 2017.

U.S. Sen Pat Toomey said he can’t believe “animal crushing” – the act of maiming and torturing small animals, often on fetish videos – isn’t illegal, so he's again introduced legislation to outlaw it.

On Wednesday, he announced the re-introduction of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act which, if passed, “would be the first-ever federal law to grant all animals federal protections against cruelty and abuse.”

Though then-President Barack Obama signed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act into law in 2010, that didn’t make the underlying acts captured on “animal crushfetish videos a federal crime.

This new act – which Toomey, who tried something similar in 2015, co-introduced with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – would change that.

The Senate passed the act in its last session of 2016, but it had to be reintroduced because the House of Representatives didn't have a chance to consider it amid Capitol Hill shenanigans related to the Supreme Court vacancy. The issue has been subject to free speech considerations.

“There is absolutely no place for the crushing of animals in our society,” Toomey said in a press release announcing the bill, which is endorsed by a slew of groups including the Humane Society of the United States. “It is blatantly inhumane and astonishingly cruel.”

Toomey’s local peer in Congress – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey – also came out in support of this type of prohibition when it was considered in 2010.

Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society president and CEO, was quoted in Toomey's announcement as saying the measure would "fortify the legal framework against cruelty in the United States."

If PACT becomes law, those found guilty of torturing animals would face felony charges and up to seven years in prison.