Lawmakers have introduced a bill that makes animal cruelty a nationwide felony.
via Jimmywee / Flickr

Currently, there are animal cruelty laws in 50 states as well federal laws that prohibit animal fighting and creating videos that depict animal cruelty. But animals still aren't protected by any far-reaching blanket legislation on a federal level.

What if animals are being tortured across state lines? What if animals are being transported for bestiality? What if animal cruelty occurs on federal property?

That's why Democratic Representative Ted Deutch and Republican Representative Vern Buchanan, both from Florida, have come together to propose bipartisan legislation that broadens the scope of federal jurisdiction through the PACT Act — which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture.


"This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws," Deutch told the Orlando Sentinel. "We've acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it's time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well."

Iowa school is giving students PE credits for helping the elderly and disabled with their yard work.

Under the new law, wrongdoers can be punished for drowning, crushing, burning, impaling, sexually exploiting, or suffocating an animal. Federal authorities will also have more power to pursue animal abusers and can prosecute crimes committed on federal property.

Those who are convicted under the law would be subject to felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison.

According to the Humane Society, the most common forms of animal abuse happen on factory farms, but because of weak protections, these crimes are rarely reported. Animal abuse also closely tracks with domestic abuse. A survey revealed that 71% of domestic violence victims reported that their abusers also targeted their pets.


via Riik@mctr / Flickr

The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in late January and has already earned 284 bipartisan cosponsors, far more than it needs to pass the House, as well as endorsements from the National Sheriffs Association and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

A gay couple's pride flag helped give a young teen the courage to come out to their family.

"Decades ago the Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized the seriousness of animal cruelty and its link to escalating violence toward humans," Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson said in the statement. "Representatives Deutch and Buchanan are tremendous advocates for animal protection, and we are grateful to them for seeking to eradicate malicious cruelty."

Upworthy has reached out to Congressmen Deutch and Buchanan about the progress of the legislation and has yet to receive a response.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.