In case you never saw it, there was a series on Netflix that took the world by storm called “Tiger King” that had 64 million people glued to their television sets for weeks. It was a show about an American guy named Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who was a breeder and keeper of tigers, and his number one nemesis, Carole Baskin, a supposed animal rights activist.
Since the series came out, it has shed major light on the exploitation of wild animals, creating a move in U.S. legislation which was just passed recently in the U.S. Senate. The law was to ban public contact with such animals as tigers, lions, cougars, cheetahs, leopards, cougars and jaguars.
This soon-to-be law, which has been named the Big Cat Public Safety Act, will now prohibit keeping big cat species as pets, while also including the practice of ‘cub petting.’ This same act will also make it illegal for the public to have close contact with the animals, whether handling any cubs or bottle-feeding them.
The Senate passed this bipartisan legislation, agreeing unanimously over this new bill. Since then, it was passed already in the U.S. House of Representatives, which will now await signing into law at the White House by current President Joe Biden, who has thankfully expressed his support.
This legislation was also advocated by the following representatives, Democrat party member, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Republican party member from Maine, Senator Susan Collins, Democrat party member from Illinois, Rep. Michael Quigley, and Republican party member from Pennsylvania, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
In a statement shared by CEO and president of the Humane Society, Kitty Block, “We’ve been fighting for this moment for years because so many so-called ‘Tiger Kings’ have been breeding tigers and other big cats to use them for profit. It’s the beginning of the end of the big cat crisis in the U.S.”
This law doesn’t need to remind people that keeping big cats as pets is a serious public safety issue, first and foremost. Moreover, it’s not humane for the animals either, considering they should not be kept in captivity. Over the last 30 years, there have actually been over 400 incidents involving big cats in captivity that succeeded in injuring hundreds of people, and worse, killing at least 24 adults and kids in the process.
As explained by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, “These beautiful but powerful predators deserve to live in the wild, not be kept in captivity for people’s entertainment. I’m thrilled that, after a groundswell of public and bipartisan support, this bill I’ve long advocated for will become law.”
Moreover, this new legislation will protect both the animals and the society by limiting the ownership of these animals to zoos, universities, and sanctuaries just like the one run by the Humane Society, Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, which has become a safe haven for these cats that were once subject to the unfair industry of cub-petting and the like.
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