In huge news, Congress passed The Big Cat Public Safety Actwhich prohibits private possession and public contact and increases restrictions on the breeding, trade and exploitation of big cats in the United States.
The bill passed the US Senate yesterday and will now go to President Biden, who is expected to approve the bill. The groundbreaking bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley and Senator Richard Blumenthal, both known for their work protecting big cats.
“The Big Cat Public Safety Act will end the horrific exploitation of big cats and strengthen public safety. These beautiful but powerful predators deserve to live in the wild, and not to be kept in captivity for people’s entertainment, even as cubs. I am thrilled that after an outpouring of public and bipartisan support, this bill that I have long advocated for will become law,” said Senator Blumenthal.
Big cat ownership came into the spotlight after Tiger King starring Joe Exotic arrived on Netflix in 2020. The bill is an attempt to draw a much-needed line between backyard breeders and those who are recognized and accredited as species protection programs, wildlife sanctuaries meeting standards similar to the World Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and more. It is specifically intended for backyard breeders, roadside zoos, petting and photographic operations.
These big cats are often held as prisoners for profit in roadside zoos, where they are exploited and coerced into activities such as petting cubs. They are frequently declawed and have dull teeth so they can be forced to interact with customers, even though declawing has been banned by the USDA since 2005. Adult big cats kept as pets are known to suffer psychologically because of their accommodation. in small confined areas. Cubs used for petting and photo ops are often taken from their mothers at an early age and also suffer psychologically as a result.
“We are thrilled that Congress has voted to ban backyard breeding, private ownership and public contact of these magnificent animals,” said ADI President Jan Creamer. “Our thanks to Rep. Quigley and Senator Blumenthal for their leadership on this important legislation. It’s time to put an end to the gruesome scenes of babies ripped from their mothers at birth and little cubs walking around as photo props. Truly a life of misery for the big cats.
The bill also grandfathers entities to have cats born before the bill’s enactment as long as they are registered and do not allow direct public contact with the animal, and do not breed, acquire or do not sell the animal after the bill is enacted.
Organizations like Animal Defenders International (ADI) and celebrities around the world applaud the Big Cat Public Safety Act finally passing Congress.
Bob Barker, award-winning television legend, said: “The abuse suffered by big cats is indefensible. They are starved, abused, kept isolated in tiny cages, their legs mutilated, their bodies drugged, their lives miserable and their deaths violent and ugly. It has to stop. Please join Animal Defenders International in supporting the Big Cat Public Safety Act today.
Actress Alexandra Paul said, “Breeding big cats in captivity is not conservation. Captive breeding will often result in compromised gene pools and unnatural hybrids. It would be disastrous for wild populations if the damaging genetic results of inbreeding in captivity find their way into the wild gene pool.
For years, the government failed to help the big cats and enact the legislation needed to end the suffering of these animals. This bill is a step in the right direction.
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