Lions and Tigers and Backyards, Oh No

Lions and Tigers and backyards, Oh No. Photo by Martin HeiganOn September 26, AWI participated in a Capitol Hill briefing on H.R. 4122, the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act, which Reps. Buck McKeon (R-NC) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced in response to the threats to public safety and animal welfare posed by the private ownership of exotic cats such as lions and tigers. AWI Senior Policy Advisor Nancy Blaney addressed the longstanding nature of this problem; the abuse these animals endure at the hands of individuals unqualified to meet their complex physical, psychological, and social needs; and the fact that it usually ends badly for the animal. Both H.R. 4122 and S. 3547, introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), would ban the private ownership of exotic cats except by certain highly qualified facilities, require that current owners register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and prohibit owners from breeding their animals or replacing them when they die.