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Big Cat Public Safety Act passes the US House of Representatives

A change in the law will see private ownership of big cats in the US banned, putting an end to possession of tigers, lions and other big cat species except by qualified entities




Private ownership of big cats in the US could soon come to an end   Credit: Canva

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that will prohibit the keeping of tigers, lions and other big cat species as pets, and ban direct public contact such as cub petting.

With private big cat ownership a huge issue in the US, with as many as 10,000 such animals thought to be being kept as pets or displayed in roadside zoos, the bill represents a landmark moment in US history. Since 1992, there have been more than 100 incidents involving big cats, including an escaped juvenile tiger appearing in a Houston neighbourhood in 2021 and a pet cougar found on a Florida driveway in 2019.

In May last year, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) called on US Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act following the seizure of nearly 70 tigers, lions, big cat hybrids, and a jaguar from the former Tiger King zoo.

Passing by a vote of 278 to 134, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will strengthen federal law by prohibiting possession of tigers, lions and other big cat species except by qualified entities, which includes AZA-accredited facilities. The ruling would also effectively end the unsafe and unethical use of big cats and their cubs for commercial photo-ops, petting, and similar activities. In the wake of the vote, the AZA has urged the US Senate to take swift action following the decision.

“Since Congress last considered this important legislation, there have been state and federal indictments of reality TV stars for crimes involving exploitation of big cats, and case after case of big cats handed over or taken from those who should never have had them in the first place,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA.

“There is no question this legislation and the tools it provides federal officials to protect big cats are more needed than ever. I urge the US Senate to act swiftly and send this legislation to the President.”



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Big Cat Public Safety Act passes the US House of Representatives | Planet Attractions
news

Big Cat Public Safety Act passes the US House of Representatives

A change in the law will see private ownership of big cats in the US banned, putting an end to possession of tigers, lions and other big cat species except by qualified entities




Private ownership of big cats in the US could soon come to an end   Credit: Canva

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that will prohibit the keeping of tigers, lions and other big cat species as pets, and ban direct public contact such as cub petting.

With private big cat ownership a huge issue in the US, with as many as 10,000 such animals thought to be being kept as pets or displayed in roadside zoos, the bill represents a landmark moment in US history. Since 1992, there have been more than 100 incidents involving big cats, including an escaped juvenile tiger appearing in a Houston neighbourhood in 2021 and a pet cougar found on a Florida driveway in 2019.

In May last year, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) called on US Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act following the seizure of nearly 70 tigers, lions, big cat hybrids, and a jaguar from the former Tiger King zoo.

Passing by a vote of 278 to 134, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will strengthen federal law by prohibiting possession of tigers, lions and other big cat species except by qualified entities, which includes AZA-accredited facilities. The ruling would also effectively end the unsafe and unethical use of big cats and their cubs for commercial photo-ops, petting, and similar activities. In the wake of the vote, the AZA has urged the US Senate to take swift action following the decision.

“Since Congress last considered this important legislation, there have been state and federal indictments of reality TV stars for crimes involving exploitation of big cats, and case after case of big cats handed over or taken from those who should never have had them in the first place,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA.

“There is no question this legislation and the tools it provides federal officials to protect big cats are more needed than ever. I urge the US Senate to act swiftly and send this legislation to the President.”



 



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