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Washington, DC– The Animal Welfare Institute commends today’s re-introduction of the Big Cat Public Safety Act in the US Senate. The law, which was championed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Richard Burr (R-NC), would conduct cruel trade-related activity Prohibit big cats.
Last year the US House of Representatives passed legislation with a strong bipartisan majority in the wake of the Netflix documentaries “Tiger King” and increased public awareness of the exploitation of trapped big cats. However, it was not picked up by the Senate until the 116th Congress closed. In January the bill (HR 151) was reintroduced in the House, where it is awaiting another vote.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act prohibits private individuals from owning lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, or hybrids of this type. This prohibition would only apply to large cats kept as pets. Sanctuaries, universities and zoos would be exempt.
In addition, the bill prohibits petting, playing, feeding, and taking pictures with boys in public. Breeders often separate mother cats from their young immediately after birth, which leads to physical and psychological damage as this disrupts the bonding process between mother and young and taxes the cubs’ underdeveloped immune systems. It is stressful and scary when the boys are passed around in crowds, and the handlers often physically abuse them to force them to “behave”. The benefit of encouraging the public to interact with and pose with cubs is the primary reason excess tigers inundate the exotic animal trade in the United States, leaving countless animals subject to trauma and Are exposed to abuse.
Big cats kept as pets pose an enormous threat to the surrounding community and first responders. As a result, the Big Cat Public Safety Act has been endorsed by a large number of law enforcement agencies and officials. Several incidents in Texas of privately owned tigers are among hundreds of similar examples across the country, highlighting the dangers posed by big cats, which are often neglected.
“It’s a farce that no one has any idea how many big cats are held in captivity in the US or where they are at all,” said Cathy Liss, President of AWI. “Big cats suffer from neglect and abuse by people who are not qualified to own them, and they pose a threat to public health and safety. The Animal Welfare Institute looks forward to working with the non-partisan sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, to keep our communities safe and to promote the humane treatment of these animals. “
“This bipartisan measure would help stop the exploitation of big cats like tigers and lions and reduce the security risk,” said Blumenthal. “My Big Cat Public Safety Act would prohibit private ownership of these beautiful but powerful predators that deserve to live in the wild. They should never be pets, even cubs who are dangerously captive for entertainment. I am grateful for the growing public support for this law and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure it becomes law. “
“Big cats like lions, tigers and cheetahs belong in their natural habitats and not in the hands of private owners, where they are too often exposed to cruelty or inadequate care,” said Collins. “Our non-partisan law would prohibit private ownership of big cats, which endangers animal and public safety and affects conservation efforts. I have long campaigned for policies that improve animal welfare and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation. “