Tigers Are NOT House Pets!

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Thousands of big cats are being kept as house cats, often in tragic conditions. It needs to end!

The desire to have a tiger as a house pet is understandable, but for most people, it's a daydream, as it should be. The reality is that big cats are wild animals, and no matter what age you bond with them, no matter how affectionate they might be, they cannot survive as a pet1.

Despite the obvious difficulties of trying to feed and house a tiger or lion, the majority of "owners" are unable to care for the animals through adulthood. The cost of keeping a tiger alive and healthy in captivity is upwards of $6,000 a year, and many people simply abandon the animals or neglect them to an abhorrent degree2.

Currently, there are between 5,000-7,000 big cats in private captivity in the United States3. That's more than are still alive in the wild! There are not enough sanctuaries in the US to house and care for the number of big cats abandoned each year, leading to a massive issue for humans and animals alike4.

Purchasing a big cat is surprisingly easy, and while sanctuaries and zoos are held to safety and cruelty standards by the Department of Agriculture5, each state in the country has different laws regarding exotic animals.

The Endangered Species Act does not prohibit breeding or selling endangered animals, so tracking every sale is impossible, especially across state lines6. Some states have blanket bans in place, and some states lack any kind of regulation at all. Worst of all, the Department of Agriculture has no regulatory power over private owners, meaning the most severely abused animals have next to no hope7.

The House has extended the protections of the federal Lacey Act by passing H.R. 1380, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, banning the selling, purchasing, and housing of big cats8. The next step is for the Senate to do the same with a similar amendment to the Lacey Act, S.25619.

Sign now to ask the House and Senate chairmen of the Department of Agriculture to protect big cats by amending the Lacey Act!

More on this issue:

  1. Michael Hardin, One Green Planet (2016), "Big Cats Are Beautiful But This Is Why They Should NEVER Be Pets."
  2. World Wildlife Fund (2016), "CAPTIVE TIGERS IN THE US."
  3. Rachel Garner, Why Animals Do The Thing (27 December 2018), "Are There More Tigers In Texas And Florida Than In The Wild?."
  4. Alex Hannaford, The Guardian (10 November 2019), "The tiger next door: America’s backyard big cats."
  5. USDA Animal Care (May 2019), "Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations."
  6. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species (30 January 2020), "Endangered Species Act | Overview."
  7. Rolling Stone, "The Dirty Truth About Cheap Meat."
  8. Rep. Mike Quigley, 116th Congress (26 February 2019), "H.R.1380 - Big Cat Public Safety Act."
  9. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, 16th Congress (26 September 2019), "S.2561 - A bill to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to clarify provisions enacted by the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, to further the conservation of certain wildlife species, and for other purposes."
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The Petition:

To the Senate chairmen of the Department of Agriculture:

It's seldom discussed, but America has a problem with exotic animals, namely the nearly 7,000 tigers and other exotic cats that are currently kept as house pets. There are more captive tigers in the US than in the wild! These animals are often neglected, abused, and pose a massive safety hazard to the public, no matter how well behaved they seem.

The Department of Agriculture already inspects and protects big cats that live in zoos and accredited sanctuaries, but the animals under private ownership have no protections, and no guarantee of the animal's safety, or the public's.

Saving the lives of these animals and assuring they find a safe and protected home is not only a win for the United States, but for the conservation of a rapidly diminishing species. The Lacey Act already protects a number of species, and simply widening the scope to prohibit the breeding, selling, and purchasing of big cats would save thousands of tigers, and offer a measure of protection for citizens across the country.

I support your efforts in passing S.2561 - A bill to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to clarify provisions enacted by the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, to further the conservation of certain wildlife species, and for other purposes.


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