Did you know that there are over 20,000 captive big cats in the United States?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these cats are exotic pets living in small houses and backyards. Studies have shown that life in captivity puts emotional stress on the animals. Additionally, all big cats are very powerful and retain their wild instincts even if they are born in captivity, making them very dangerous to the community.
Big cat cubs are adorable and impossible to resist! Many roadside zoos and petting zoos charge the public to interact with tiger, lion, or cheetah cubs. Unfortunately, this means that big cats must be bred constantly to provide a steady flow of cubs. Young animals are snatched away from their mothers sometimes only hours after birth. These cubs cannot play, explore, or sleep interrupted for long periods of time; they must be constantly reawakened to keep the sessions profitable. Older cubs are later discarded, often to poor, overcrowded facilities where they live out their lives in small cages.
Some people believe that since big cat populations are dwindling so quickly that keeping them in captivity helps wild populations. But all too often, unwanted big cats end up in the canned hunt or killed for their parts. A tiger is worth more dead than alive, and killing these cats in captivity only increases the demand, meaning more wild tigers will be poached for their parts.
The good news is that there’s hope to end the exotic cat trade in America. On March 1st, 2012, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122/S. 3547) was introduced to protect these animals. Join your voice with ours and tell Congress to enact the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. Your voice could mean their life.