Posted by 01 December 2020
The hit Netflix show "Tiger King" has raised the profile of big cat sanctuaries and the people who own lions and tigers. Now the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would tighten federal restrictions on the ownership and exhibition of these cats.
Under H.R. 1380, only individuals or businesses licensed by the Department of Agriculture could possess big cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards. For any business or organization that wants to exhibit these animals to the public, this legislation would prohibit them from allowing people to have access to the cats.
H.R. 1380 is a bipartisan bill with 230 cosponsors and it likely to pass this week with overwhelming support in the House. This differs from past years, when similar legislation languished without a vote. Advocates have been trying to pass tighter big cat restrictions for five years but have failed.
Sponsors of the legislation credit the "Tiger King" series for bringing attention to the issues raised by this legislation. They say this show, which focuses on big cat sanctuary owners, illustrates the dangers that loose federal laws have caused. They contend that many of these sanctuaries abuse cats and endanger the people who visit them. Opponents of the bill push back, saying that tougher federal laws will infringe upon the rights of people and organizations who care for endangered cats.
The House and Senate are both meeting in lame duck sessions in order to finish work on spending bills and other matters. If the House passes HR 1380 this week, the Senate could act on it before adjourning for the year.
Do you support prohibiting people from interacting with big cats at cat sanctuaries?