US President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bill banning private ownership of tigers and other big cats along with “cub petting.” This bill aims to limit the ownership of tigers, lions, jaguars and other big cats to zoos, sanctuaries, universities and agencies. The bill was previously passed by the US Congress and was made into law after Biden signed it. Animal advocacy groups and conservationists alike have hailed the move which protects wildlife creatures.
Big Cat Public Safety Act
This bill revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (i.e., species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Specifically, it revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including restricting direct contact between the public and big cats, as per US Congress.
The bill prohibits direct contact between the public and big cats as seen in Netflix series “Tiger King,” which featured the exploits of a flamboyant private zoo owner named Joe Exotic. It is an American true crime documentary streaming television series about the life of Joe. Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joe Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison for attempting to kill a rival animal refuge owner, Carole Baskin. The series focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists such as Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, and collectors such as Exotic, whom Baskin accuses of abusing and exploiting wild animals.
Current owners of big cats
Current owners of big cats are exempted but will have to register the animals with the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
PETA applauds POTUS signing the bill
After Biden signed the bill that became a law, animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has applauded the move. The group said that after this landmark move, now Tiger Kings can no longer cash in on the suffering of big-cat cubs removed from their caged mothers.
“This law caps off years of PETA legal actions that resulted in the rescue of 75 big cats, took down Tiger King villains Tim Stark and Jeff Lowe, and established that big-cat cub petting violates the Endangered Species Act. PETA has now set its sights on ending photo ops with baby bears, otters, sloths, and other exploited animals who deserve to be with their families, and it urges everyone never to give a dime to animal exploiters,” PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet said in a statement.
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