Federal Legislation

Federal: Take Action to End Private Ownership of “Big Cats”

Name: Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act
Number: HR 1998 and S 1381

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, introduced in both the House and Senate, would assert the federal government’s control over the ownership of “big cats” under the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, prohibiting the private ownership, breeding, sale, and transportation in interstate commerce of lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs, lion/tiger hybrids, and other captive big cats.

These bills will not only save big cats from inadequate and inhumane living conditions, but it will also protect people from serious injury from these animals.

Passage of this these bills would bring an end to the interstate trading in big cats that supports the “pet trade.” Commercial trafficking in big cats as pets is extremely dangerous. While lions and tigers may be cute when young, a full grown animal has enormous strength and agility. This bill comes in response to the 2011 tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio where a private owner released his collection of dangerous animals before committing suicide.

Specifically, these bills would prohibit the private ownership and breeding of these animals, with certain exceptions. It would allow circuses that regularly travel between states, such as the large tenting circuses, to keep their big cats for exhibition, but only if the public is not allowed to come in direct contact with wildlife and the circus has not violated provisions of the Animal Welfare Act for a three-year period before enactment of this law. Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums would also be exempt from these provisions, but they would still be prohibited from allowing contact of these wildlife species with the public.

Call to action:

    1. Please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and ask them to support HR 1998 and S 1381, to stop the interstate trade in big cats.
    2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

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