Just last week, President Donald Trump signed off on a bill regarding animal cruelty, deeming it punishable by fines, and even prison in extreme cases. Despite the stark polarization between the two parties at this point in Trump’s presidency, The Senate and the House both unanimously voted for the bill's passing, as well as earning Trump’s steadfast support.
Although the topic of ‘animal rights’ remains to invoke heated debate between the two parties, it appears that a consensus has been reached, for both prominent political figures on both the right and left have evidently put forth their support for the federal outlawing animal abuse, rather than leaving that to state legislation alone.
The bill, known as the PACT Act, (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act) specifically forbids the “crushing” of mammals, birds, and reptiles; the distribution of videos of such actions taking place has also been forbidden, for it constitutes as the encouragement of such action. However, there are exceptions to the law, which are all specifically listed in the bill. Anomalies include the ‘crushing’ of animals for scientific research, euthanization, or for survival means.
While this does give a great deal of flexibility in deeming which actions apply to the abuse of animals or qualify as an exception, it certainly is a major step in the right direction for animal rights advocates and environmentalists.
The House and the Senate rarely pass bills without heavily modifying them in order to suit both parties. Even if the bill does eventually pass, what it accomplishes is a far cry of what it originally was meant to. To have a bill, relatively untouched, pass through both the House and Senate unanimously, as well as be signed into law by the president, is an incredible feat.
This level of bipartisanship that we have seen see in getting this bill passed through Congress is something we do not see very often. With this exceedingly controversial election coming up in less than a year’s time, it is important for us to remember Abraham Lincoln's famous words, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” and not lose sight of the fact that we are one country, all with the same end goal of providing a better future for everyone, including those who cannot speak for themselves.