Carole Baskin said she is "thrilled" by the vote for the Big Cat Public Safety Act

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 04, 2020 02:49 PM
Credit: Getty

The Big Cat Public Safety Act, a piece of animal rights legislation touched on in the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King, has been passed by the House of Representatives.

With a vote of 272-114, the bill — which Carole Baskin and her Big Cat Rescue sanctuary strongly support — was passed. If next passed by the U.S. Senate, it would prohibit private individuals from owning lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars.

According to USA Today, the bill allows animal parks that already have the animals to keep them, but would ban the parks from offering interactions with the animals to public patrons.

In a statement on Big Cat Rescue's Facebook page, Baskin said she is "thrilled" with the "bipartisan support to protect the big cats from abuse, the public and first responders from injuries and death, and the tiger in the wild from extinction."

"None of these important goals are partisan in any way and we hope the Senate will follow suit quickly to make it into law," added Baskin, who competed on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars.

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Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) applauded the House's vote on the bill, which was sponsored by Reps. Mike Quigley of Illinois and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. It was first introduced in 2012.

"When people visit an AZA-accredited facility and see lions, tigers, and cheetahs, they know those animals are receiving the best care possible. The same cannot be said for substandard facilities who use lion and tiger cubs as props for their business," said Ashe in a statement.

"As the cats grow, these facilities are typically ill-equipped to handle the animals, resulting in overcrowded spaces or worse, animals killed to support the illegal trade in their body parts. ... I am hopeful the U.S. Senate will now act swiftly and pass this much-needed legislation."

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"After months of the public loudly and clearly calling for Congress to end private big cat ownership, I am extremely pleased that the House has now passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act," Quigley said in a statement. "Big cats are wild animals that simply do not belong in private homes, backyards, or shoddy roadside zoos."

"Too often, law enforcement and first responders are the ones who end up in danger from these animals and, in a time when our first responders are already facing increased risk from the pandemic, we owe it to them to limit the additional dangers they face on the job," added Quigley. "Animals like tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas should not be exposed to the miserable conditions so many of them in our country currently face."

"By passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act we are one step closer to ensuring these animals are treated humanely and to keeping the public safe from dangerous big cats."