On 6th December 2022, the US Senate passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/S. 1210) by unanimous consent. The bill, sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Richard Burr (R-NC), aims to end several practices associated with keeping big cats in captivity. It was passed the House of Representatives by 278 votes in favour and 134 against on 29th July.
This law will prohibit private individuals from possessing lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, or any hybrid of these, but the prohibition will only apply to big cats kept as pets, not in sanctuaries, universities, or, unfortunately, zoos. Current big cat owners would be grandfathered in but would be required to register their animals.
Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement, said, “the final nail’s about to hit the coffin of the extremely cruel big-cat cub-petting industry, which PETA lawsuits nearly annihilated by taking down the biggest players, such as the ‘Tiger Kings,’ and establishing that it’s illegal to separate big-cat cubs from their mothers prematurely and let the public pet them. PETA will be watching closely to ensure that federal authorities enforce the new law and stop wannabe “Tiger Kings” from resurrecting this abusive industry.”
Susan Millward, executive director of Animal Welfare Institute, said, “following the Senate’s historic approval of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, this essential legislation is finally very close to becoming law. We must end the exploitative and dangerous trade in pet big cats, and ensure that no more cubs are ripped from their mothers at birth to be traumatized for profit. I thank the sponsors, Senators Blumenthal, Collins, Carper, and Burr, for their tireless work to pass this bill and advance protections for captive big cats in the United States.”