Big Cat Public Safety Act Reintroduced in 117th Congress Session

A New Chance To Save Lives

January 13, 2021

A bill to protect exotic cats from abuse and neglect, as well as the public from the danger that comes with improper owners being able to obtain theses animals, has been reintroduced into the House as H.R. 263, The Big Cat Public Safety Act. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, is asking our supporters to rally behind this bill and reach out to your US House Representatives to ask them to co-sponsor the bill! Last session, the bill passed through the house with 2/3 majority vote, we are confident with your help we can quickly get this bill passed through the house again. The text of this bill has not changed, it just has a new number in this new Congressional Session.

When the Big Cat Public Safety Act passes, it will ban the petting and handling of cubs at roadside zoos who profit from these forms of public interaction at the expense of the baby animals’ wellbeing. It will also end the private ownership of big cats. Those who currently own big cats will not have to give up their animals, but they will be required to stop breeding, purchasing, selling, trading, and allowing the public to handle the felines.

According to Representative Mike Quigley, who reintroduced the bill Tuesday, unregulated private ownership of wild exotic felines leads to dismal lives for the animal and poses a danger to individuals who may have to intervene when an incident occurs, such as EMTs and law enforcement.

“Animals like tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas simply do not belong in private ownership. Not only does it place the public, including law enforcement and first responders, in grave danger – it also often results in these animals living in miserable conditions,” Quigley told Brianna Grant with the Earth Island Journal.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has been advocating for the bill for several years. Because we provide a lifetime home to abused and neglected big cats, our team has observed first-hand what happens within the “Big Cat Trade.”

TCWR President, Tanya Smith, also spoke to Grant in the article about the reintroduction of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

In the article on EarthIsland.org, Grant recounted her interview with Smith, writing “that animals in the cub petting industry often suffer from health issues. One common ailment is metabolic bone disease — a condition where bones become weak and easily break — which can result from cubs being taken away from their mothers and fed formula lacking essential nutrients. Smith says this is often done to keep cubs small and hungry for bottle-feeding sessions with visitors. ‘We actually rescued three tigers that couldn’t even walk when we got there. They were dragging themselves around and they were still put on display,” she says.’”

We have worked quickly to update our advocacy page and information to reflect this reintroduction and the bill’s new assigned number H.R. 263. We are also working with other sanctuaries to get the bill reintroduced to the Senate as quickly as possible.

We are hopeful that this bill will quickly pass. Out of the 230 co-signers on the House Bill last session 205 kept their seats in the House; only 13 co-sponsors from majority if the old co-sponsors do so again. Out of the 41 Co-sponsors in the senate 37 kept their seats; only 14 co-sponsors from majority if the old co-sponsors do so again.

Your message to congress could make all the difference, please visit our advocacy page to message your House Representatives TODAY! With your help, we could see the end of the Big Cat Trade before this year is over!

Grant’s full article about the bill can be read at https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/big-cat-public-safety-act-reintroduced-in-house.