Rescue Fights to Ban Ownership of Big Cats Like Lions and Tigers

Tampa, Florida's Big Cat Rescue is a leader in the fight to end pet ownership of lions, tigers, jaguars, pumas, and more.

While some states have laws preventing the ownership of big cats on private properties, many states either don't have strict exotic pet laws or only loosely enforce them.

According to Big Cat Rescue:

"An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats languish in deplorable conditions in backyards, roadside zoos, and traveling exhibits throughout the U.S. Tigers and lions should not be pets. They should not be bred and exploited just to make money. While some states have regulations that attempt to protect big cats, decades of experience have proven they are not working. The only solution is to ban private breeding and ownership of big cats nationally."

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Big Cat Rescue is urging U.S. citizens to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818). They call this bill "the most important piece of legislation" to protect big cats from abuse. Voters are being urged to call and write to their legislative representatives. The Big Cat Ban Fact Sheet offers more information on how you can make a difference for big cats and why this bill is important.

The dangers and peril of big cats in captivity made headlines in 2011 when police officials were forced to kill 49 animals let loose by the owner of a backyard zoo in Zanesville, Ohio. A total of 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 African lions, and 3 mountain lions died. Bengal tigers have been listed on the IUCN Red List as endangered since 2008. Their wild population continues to decrease. A 2011 census listed less than 2,500 still roaming in Asia.

Yet, people still think they could make good pets.

The full text of bill H.R. 1818 is available to the public here.

What do you think about keeping big cats as pets? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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