Big Cats Can No Longer Be Sold For Pets Or Petting In U.S.

In a historic move, the government just passed legislation that prohibits the sale or trade of big cats as pets.

After the Tiger King series brought light to the issue back in 2020, public outrage and awareness has allowed legislators to move forward with stricter laws surrounding the big cat trade.

Photo: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar License: CC BY-ND 2.0

The Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R.263, was first introduced back in January of 2021. After nearly two years, the bill has finally been signed into law!

On December 20, 2022, President Biden signed the bill, revising the requirements surrounding the trade of big cats (including species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species).

Photo: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar License: CC BY-ND 2.0

Under the act, big cats will no longer be prohibited to be kept as pets, and wildlife parks and zoos will no longer be allowed to offer “cub petting” to the public.

The act should help separate big cats from the public and discourage breeding for the pet trade.

Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

In a statement from the Humane Society of the United States, the company’s president and CEO, Kitty Block, said:

“We’ve been fighting for this moment for years because so many so-called ‘Tiger Kings’ have been breeding tigers and other big cats to use them for profit. It’s the beginning of the end of the big cat crisis in the U.S.”

Photo: Pexels/Catherine Harding Wiltshire

Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund, added: “Passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act addresses a reckless cruelty that has festered for years. For too long tiger cubs have been exploited by ‘pay to play’ operators like Joe Exotic and Doc Antle who profited from charging people for photo ops of their children holding these potentially dangerous wild animals.”

Keeping big cats as pets is both inhumane and also a public safety issue. The Big Cat Public Safety Act should help reduce instances of wild cats being grossly neglected and exploited for profits, and should also help mitigate instances of human injury related to big cats.

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