Ask your member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 1998 and S 1381. Why? It’s the most important piece of legislation ever introduced to protect lions, tigers and other exotic wild cats (approx. 10,000-20,000 big cats are currently in private ownership in the U.S.) from being kept as pets and in miserable roadside zoos.
Unlike the current ineffective and impractical state bans and USDA regulations, this federal legislation—the first of its kind—would illegalize possessing any big cat except at accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries that can properly care for and shelter them, and would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions. Violators could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their activity, with stiff penalties including fines up to $20,000 and up to five years in jail.
- As a matter of public safety:
The bill would reduce the threat posed to humans—deaths, maulings, escapes and more—when exotic cats bought as cute cubs by private owners grow into dangerous, unmanageable and expensive big cats. These animals often end up in tiny back yard cages, in sanctuaries struggling to support the steady flow of unwanted cats, or in the illegal trade for their parts.
- As a matter of conservation:
The bill would cut back on the illegal trade of big cat parts by breeders who profit from selling these animals. It’s been shown that the supply of body parts from the captive big cat population not only feeds the market for these parts but also increases the demand for the parts of big cats poached from the wild.
- As a matter of the humane treatment of animals:
The bill would ensure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats do not end up in deplorable conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty. Only a few of the very worst facilities cited each year are ever shut down, meaning the majority of privately owned big cats live in conditions any compassionate person would deem cruel and inhumane
Call or email your legislator(s) and let them know, for the reasons related to public safety, conservation and humane animal treatment cited above, that you support the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 1998 and S 1381. Click here for a list of your legislators and their contact information.