A bi-partisan bill, which makes certain acts of animal cruelty felonies, was passed unanimously in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives — a rare occurrence in Washington, D.C., especially these days. One of the congressmen who introduced the legislation in the House, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), stated that “This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals.” Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-Pa.), one of the bill’s sponsors in the Senate, echoed Deutch’s sentiments when he said, “Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer. Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”
It is laudable that our lawmakers have such a concern and affection for dogs and cats and the other members of the animal kingdom living among us. As the Catechism teaches: “Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his provident care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus, men owe them kindness.” (CCC, 2416)
But, first and foremost, men owe “kindness” — and respect — to their fellow human beings, who, unlike animals, are created in the image and likeness of Almighty God. It’s a sad commentary on the morally-challenged condition of many of our citizens right now, when some of the same legislators who proudly voted for this bill to protect animals from harm also regularly cast their votes in support of legalized baby-killing —otherwise known as abortion.
We need to pray very hard that these lawmakers will come to value other human persons at least as much as they value their pets.