We’ve all seen pictures on the internet of people hugging, feeding, or playing with tiger or lion cubs. Behind these pictures is a cruel and dangerous cycle of animal exploitation. Roadside zoos breed big cats to produce cubs for use in interactive experiences for paying visitors. The cubs are taken from their mothers as newborns, depriving them of proper maternal care and harming their development. After just a few months, the cubs are too big to be easily handled, so they are warehoused in substandard menageries, sold as pets to be kept in backyards or basements, or killed. Meanwhile, to maintain the cash flow from “cub-petting” activities, new cubs are produced to replace the ones who age out, resulting in a never-ending cycle of big cats being born, used for public encounters, and cruelly disposed of.
This is not only an animal welfare issue, but also a public safety issue. Even when captive-born and hand-raised, wild animals retain their natural instincts. They can, and do, injure and kill people. Careless handling and unsafe caging are often the norm among unqualified owners, and captive big cats take every opportunity to escape. Attacks and escapes put communities and first responders at risk. Few people will forget the October 2011 incident in Zanesville, Ohio, in which the owner of a private menagerie released dozens of big cats and other wild animals near a community, forcing a lockdown and requiring law enforcement to kill the cats—and risk their own lives—for the sake of public safety.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act addresses these problems by prohibiting public contact with big cats of any age, as well as banning the possession of big cat species as pets.
Please take a moment to call your U.S. Representative now. Find your legislators' phone numbers. You can say, "Please support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263. This bill will stop harmful public contact with big cats and prevent them from being kept as pets."
After your call, use the form below to send a follow-up message. Editing your message will help it stand out.