President Biden signs bill banning private ownership of big cats

The days of paying for pet lion and tiger cubs are officially over in the US, as portrayed in Netflix’s hit documentary series Tiger King.

On Tuesday, President Biden signed a bill aimed at ending the exploitation of big cats by preventing undocumented people from owning, keeping and transporting big cats. The law also prohibits licensed exhibitors — primarily zoos and sanctuaries — from allowing the public to handle animals or hold cubs.

Captivating viewers stuck at home in 2020, “Tiger King” sheds light on the fraught world of privately owned big cats and highlights “thousands of tigers, lions, The dire situation for leopards and mountain lions,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, said in a statement.

The seven-part series charts America’s turbulent roadside zoo attractions industry and zooms in on the now-closed facility in Oklahoma, once run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the colorful character also known as For Joe Exotic.

The show also focused on a feud brewing between Mr. Maldonado-Passage and Carole Baskin, a self-proclaimed animal rights activist who often wears animal print clothing, condemned Mr. Maldonado-Passage Zoo.

At the GW Exotic Animal Park Zoo, there was a Groupon offer where patrons could pay to cuddle and have their photos taken with the cubs. The “Tiger King” footage featured a scene where a cub is separated from its mother shortly after birth.

January 2021, a few months after the show, sir. Quigley introduced the Big Cats Public Safety Act, which passed the House by a 278-134 vote in July and passed unanimously in the Senate earlier this month. Animals covered by the act include lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pumas and hybrids of these cats.

The new law “will not only help end the cruel and inhumane pup pet industry,” Mr. It also makes the community safer, Quigley said in a statement.

Animal rights advocates celebrated the legislation, which they say is long overdue. Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society’s Legislative Foundation, said the law ends “a twisted industry with no social redemptive purpose that inflicts enormous harm on animals while putting Americans at risk year round .”

Mrs. Amundson added that the bill would stop what she called “the endless cycle of exploitation and abuse of big cat pups who are discarded because they are too big to be photographed.” According to the Humane Society of the United States, Over the past two decades, there have been more than 400 “hazardous incidents” involving big cats in 46 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in at least 24 deaths.

Under the new law, big cat owners have 180 days to register their animals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those who don’t face a fine of up to $20,000 or five years in prison.

In 2018, Mr. Maldonado-Passage was arrested after making two unsuccessful attempts to hire someone to kill Passage the previous year. Baskin. gentlemen. Maldonado-Passage paid one employee $3,000 to cut her off. Baskin’s head, according to court records. On his second attempt, he made the critical mistake of hiring an undercover FBI agent.

He was also found guilty of falsifying wildlife records and violating endangered species laws for his role in the trafficking and killing of tigers.

gentlemen. Maldonado-Passage, who maintains his innocence, is now serving 21 years in prison.

Mrs. Baskin, the CEO and founder of the Tampa, Fla.-based big cat rescue group, told The New York Times that she sees the passage of the bill as “a 30-year effort to stop the cruelty of big cats.” And strive for the greatest achievement” cat. “

She also said in a statement that the bill comes after “years of battling narcissistic, abusive, dangerous people who dominate this cutthroat industry and do everything in their power to prevent its passage, including Wanted to intimidate, smear or even kill me.”

She expressed gratitude for being “harder to intimidate or kill than some people think.”

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