Protect big cats

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Dear Legislator,

As your constituent, I urge you to cosponsor and push for passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263 and S. 1210.

Introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Quigley and Brian Fitzpatrick and in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Susan Collins, this legislation would advance animal welfare and protect public safety by prohibiting public contact with big cats such as tigers, lions, and leopards, and by prohibiting the possession of these species as pets.

This is an animal welfare issue. Big cats kept in private hands often do not receive proper veterinary care, nutrition, housing or behavioral enrichment. The cruel cycle of breeding tiger and lion cubs for the paying public to pet and play with has created a surplus of big cats relegated to small cages in substandard facilities and private menageries across the country.

This is also a public safety issue. Improperly maintained captive big cats injure, and even kill, people. Law enforcement officers and other first responders are at particular risk from such animals, which is why the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the Small & Rural Law Enforcement Executives Association have endorsed the legislation. Emergency officials and the communities they protect should not be put in harm's way by a private owner's irresponsible decision to keep big cats.

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