Tigers, lions, jaguars, and other large felines belong in the wild. Unfortunately, somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 of these wild creatures are kept in captivity in the United States as pets or in roadside zoos. Wildcats require large territories, and although some may appear tame when caged or confined, they are not able to be truly domesticated. Keeping these majestic animals in small spaces restricts their freedom of movement and expression of natural behavior, and is incredibly cruel.
Keeping wildcats in captivity is also dangerous for humans. Captive felines have attacked hundreds of people in the United States, with some attacks being fatal. Despite the risks, there is no federal law that prohibits or even regulates the possession or sale of big wild cats*. Some states have banned the private possession of big cats and other wild animals, but in other states, no regulations exist at all.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR 1818) was introduced in March of 2017 by Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) and is a federal bill aimed at taking the first steps in addressing private "ownership" of big cats throughout the United States. The bill seeks to outlaw any further breeding or possession of big cats by amending the Lacey Act. Please help big cats by asking your federal representative in the House of Representatives to support this very important bipartisan bill.
*The Lacey Act was first introduced in the spring of 1900 by Iowa Congressman John Lacey in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. The original Act made it a crime to kill animals in one state with the purpose of selling them in another, and also prohibited trade in wild animals, fish, and plants who had been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold. The Act has been amended over the years in positive ways and is one of the most important federal laws used to fight crimes against wild animals.
1) Call your representative and ask for support of H.R. 1818, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Find out who your representative is and get the phone number by clicking the link below and selecting the federal tab.
2) Sign our letter urging your representative to co-sponsor and support the Big Cat Public Safety Act.
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Protect Big Cats and the Public
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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