Many of you at this point have heard of the documentary series on Netflix called “Tiger King”, and if you’re like me you ended up watching it in horror. Now, I don’t want to use too many words in this post talking about the documentary itself because I was so appalled by the lack of time spent highlighting the amount of animal cruelty that took place in favor of the human characters. However, I have to give credit where credit is due since the series did bring attention to a bill that is currently gaining traction in congress. This bill is called the Big Cat Public Safety Act, and even though I despised watching “Tiger King”, it has brought attention to this bill that could reduce the amount of cruelty towards big cats in the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about the bill:
As stated on congress.gov, the bill “revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (i.e. species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Specifically, it revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact between the public and big cats”.
This means that there would be less people or private institutions who would be able to privately own and exhibit big cats. As well, this would limit people from the public being able to interact with them close up like shown in the documentary “Tiger King” where people were holding and taking pictures with tiger cubs.
For more information click on the link to congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380
Why would this bill be a good thing?
As stated in the bill’s title, passing these new restrictions would make it safer for not only big cats in terms of who interacts with them but also protects the public. There have been different documentations in history of big cats turning on their owners, whether it was at a circus or private zoo. These big cats are still animals and with every animal we still have to take every precaution whether we believe they’ve been domesticated or not. Sadly, anyone who has watched any of these documentations whether it’s been a video or news article knows that the big cat is the one who usually pays the cost with their life when an interaction goes bad.
At the end of the day we want to make sure that big cats living captivity are well taken care of and get their needs met by institutions and people who have been trained and have the funds. These animals (as much as some people wish they could have a tiger as a pet) aren’t your typical house cat that’s satisfied with a couch and a small bowl of 29 cent wet food from the local PetSmart. The Dakota Zoo located in North Dakota stated on their website that it costs up to 10,000 dollars a year to feed their two big cats and that doesn’t cover the yearly veterinarian bills. Places like zoos and wildlife sanctuaries also have trained staff that study and constantly make sure that the habitats their animals live in are up to standards because it’s their job. Let’s leave the handling of tiger cubs to professionals who are dedicated to making sure big cats are well taken care.
For more information on the Dakota Zoo follow this link: https://www.dakotazoo.org/at-the-zoo/animal_food/
There are people and institutions who will use and abuse animals in order to make a profit or be entertained, and big cats are no exception. Limiting people and facilities who can privately own animals like Tigers and requiring reduced interaction with the public will hopefully aid in decreasing the bad treatment of big cats.
If you want to show support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act please call or email your congressman to let them know how important you believe it is to pass the bill. For more information on the bill itself or other bills introduced to congress you can follow the link down below.
Big Cat Public Safety Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380
In future blog posts I will be including more discussions on bills on the agenda for the United States Congress as they pertain to different environmental topics ranging from energy to wildlife conservation. For more eco-friendly action check out my other media links down below for more ways on how you can live each and every day by CodeGreen!
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