Private ownership of tigers, lions, and other big cats as vanity pets or for commercial exploitation in poorly run facilities is a serious animal welfare problem. Unscientific and unethical breeding leads to an untraceable population of big cats that presents animal welfare and conservation issues as well as a danger to the public and first responders.
The "Big Cat Public Safety Act" (BCPSA) would strengthen existing law to prohibit the possession of tigers, lions, and other big cat species except by qualified entities, such as AZA-accredited facilities. Under the bill, current private owners would be allowed to keep their animals. However, they would be required to register them with the government to ensure that first responders and animal control officers are aware that these animals are in their communities. The BCPSA also would place restrictions on public contact with these species and would curb the use of commercial photo-ops, petting, and similar activities that undermine animal care and welfare. Send a message to your representative and senators urging them to cosponsor this important legislation.
AZA-accredited facilities support conservation efforts around the globe, including contributing more than $5.2 million to big cat conservation field projects in 2019. Several of the species covered under the legislation – the African lion, cheetah, and jaguar – are part of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction.
BCPSA Support Letter – 116th Congress (2019)
AZA BCPSA Press Release (2020)
AZA BCPSA Blog Post (2021)