U.S. Senator Susan Collins said Dec. 19 that the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act is included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The legislation, which passed both the Senate and the House of Representative with overwhelming bipartisan support, was signed into law just before Christmas. In May, Senator Collins led a group of 27 Senators in introducing the PACE Act and in August, they sent a letter to the leadership on the Senate Agriculture Committee urging them to include the PACE Act in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The PACE Act would protect animals from vicious cruelty, protect communities from criminal activity often linked to animal fighting such as drug trafficking and gang violence, reduce public health threats from bird flu and other diseases, and enhance enforcement of the federal animal fighting law across the United States, according to a news release from Sen. Collins’ office.
“Animal fighting is a cruel activity that pits animals against each other, with animals often drugged to heighten their aggression and forced to keep fighting even after they have suffered grievous injuries,” said Collins, in the release. “The PACE Act will clarify federal prohibitions on animal fighting activity and ensure they are extended to all U.S. jurisdictions, including U.S. territories.”
“We are grateful Senator Collins worked in a bipartisan fashion to lead efforts to include the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act in the Farm Bill,” Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson said. “This provision will ensure that current federal prohibitions on animal fighting activity are consistently applied in all U.S. jurisdictions including the U.S. territories, where cockfighting is often still openly displayed, and thereby protect animals from vicious cruelty, protect communities from other criminal activity often linked to animal fighting, and reduce threats to public health and the food supply from the transmission of bird flu and other diseases.”
In recent years, Congress has strengthened the federal animal fighting law on multiple occasions, including amendments in each of the previous three Farms Bills enacted in 2002, 2008, and 2014. It is now a felony to sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animal fighting venture. The PACE Act will simply remove language in the law that has created confusion about the applicability in the U.S. territories of some of these prohibitions.