ACTION: US House introduction marks important milestone in Big Cat protection

One of our new ads, on display in transit shelters.One of the milestones in our efforts to protect big cats in the US has arrived!

Today, in the House of Representatives, U.S. Reps. Buck McKeon and Loretta Sanchez introduced the 2013 Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (HR 1998), aimed, with commonsense exemptions, at prohibiting private possession and breeding of captive big cats in the United States.

Our team has been gearing up for this introduction all year.  We’ve worked to compile the latest information on this issue in one place on IFAW.org to empower our voice as informed advocates.

Together with the team, I’ve worked with our Congressional champions to perfect the bill language, reached out to various stakeholders, and we’ve established strong partnerships with both animal welfare and public safety experts who believe in this bill.

I realize that all of that is just the beginning—there is much more work to be done, and your voice is needed now more than ever.

We need to spread the word that keeping big cats as “pets” or for profit in roadside zoo exhibits is no joke and needs to stop.

Three reasons why:  It’s a public safety issue. It’s an animal welfare issue. It’s a global conservation issue. And yet another—since Congress failed to take action on this issue last year, more lives have been lost.

Never underestimate your power as a constituent advocate. Today you can take action by taking two important steps: First, ask your Congressional Representative to co-sponsor HR 1998.

Second, but equally important, share this news—along with our call to action—with your local sheriff’s office and other first responders who perform life-saving acts each day.

Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach for Animals and IFAW Big Cat Public Safety consultant, said it best: “Whenever a big cat escapes or attacks a human, it is always public safety officers that respond first. I was among those who responded to the 2011 Zanesville, Ohio incident and will never forget the look on those officers’ faces that had to shoot and kill lions and tigers in their small community.”

Today’s House introduction marks a great milestone for IFAW’s big cats campaign and gives us yet another solid platform on which to build momentum.

Let’s keep it going.

--TC

P.S.: Visit www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates for more information.

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