OPINION: New bill threatens animal abusers with fines, prison

By Mariana Montoya

Animals, just like humans, should have the right to live, to be loved and cared for, not abused or tortured. 

The people for Ethical Treatment of Animals community, along with other animal protection non-profit organizations, have called for the creation and passing of a law that will protect animals from going through torture and abuse.  

As a result, the House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of passing the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture bill. 

This bill was presented by two Florida congressmen, Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan. 

It makes animal cruelty a federal crime within state federal lines.

This is also an extension to a law that  passed in 2010 by former president Barack Obama called Animal Crush Video Prohibition act. 

Some of the types of abuse that can be up for prosecution include animal crushing, impaling, burning, suffocating and any other bodily injuries. 

Violators can be fined up to $5,000 and may face up to seven years in prison.  

Congress is taking severe but justified actions upon individuals who violate this law because they believe that if people mistreat animals, they could do the same to humans. 

Through the passing of this bill, many individuals have rejoiced, especially organizations that protest against cruel and unfair animal treatment. 

“I think this is a step in the right direction. We are definitely getting somewhere,” East Los Angeles College student Marlene Gonzalez said. 

Many are also confident that this can be the start of a movement for more laws to come into play to protect animals, “I am sure that this is the first of many different laws that will specifically target different types of animal cruelty, like the ones they go through in circuses and in places like Sea World,” ELAC student Gerardo Lopez said. 

According to an article in the Washington Post, “The bipartisan act, introduced by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), builds on a 2010 law that targets videos depicting animal cruelty, spurred by disgust over a gruesome genre of ‘crush’ videos often showing small critters stomped under a woman’s shoe.”

Even though the bill is still waiting to be approved by the Senate, it’s already receiving a lot of positive feedback. 

“I am personally vegan because I am completely against animal cruelty, like animals cannot defend themselves and I am glad the government is finally doing something to protect the rights of our non-human babies” ELAC student Laura Gonzalez said.

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