ACTION: Senate introduction shows growing support for captive big cats legislation
Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (a respected Democrat of Connecticut, and former Attorney General of that state) introduced S.1381, a Senate companion to H.R. 1998, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, aimed at banning private possession and breeding of tigers, lions, and other captive big cats in the United States, while requiring current “owners” to register their big cats.
"The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act is a common-sense solution to a situation that has spiraled out of control,” Senator Blumenthal said. “Thousands of dangerous big cats are kept in deplorable conditions as backyard pets and in roadside zoos across the nation. This bill would alleviate the threat these animals pose to the general public.”
Throughout this year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been working with Sen. Blumenthal’s excellent office to get this introduced, and our continuing cosponsor drive in the House of Representatives has been building great momentum on this issue on Capitol Hill. Plus, we continue to get positive media response.
Most recently, we were mentioned in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, our California op-ed was published by the Fresno Bee, and part of our Ohio forum was picked up by an Ohio news outlet.
Also, on the heels of the successful public forum in Ohio, we are planning more regional briefings that focus on the fact that, apart from the serious animal welfare aspects of the U.S. big cats crisis, we must not forget that it poses a massive burden on the first responders who often find themselves at the forefront of dealing with the dangers that captive big cats pose when kept in private hands across America.
The Senate version of the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act now heads to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.