Big cats have gained the protection they needed in the United States thanks to a bill signed into law preventing the exploitation of such wild animals, ensuring their well-being, and boosting public safety.
“An extraordinarily cruel era for big cats in the U.S. finally comes to an end with the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act,” states Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Now that the Big Cat Public Safety Act will become law, it’s the beginning of the end of the big cat crisis in the U.S.”
According to the bipartisan bill S.1210 – passed into law unanimously by the Senate – the public is no longer authorized to be in contact with or in possession of lions, tigers, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, or any hybrid of these species. The only organizations allowed to own big cats are sanctuaries, universities, zoos, and agencies, thus putting an end to “roadside zoos” – small, unaccredited, and often illegal exotic animal zoos – where the public pays to pet and take pictures with wild animals. It is also illegal to own big cats as pets in all 50 states. Current owners are allowed to keep them but will be required to register their animals for safety purposes.