Major win! US Senate passes the Big Cat Public Safety Act
By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
Update 12/20/22: President Biden signed the Big Cat Public Safety Act into law.
In a major advance in our long fight against the abuse of captive big cats, the U.S. Senate just passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/ S. 1210), a bill we have championed for years because it prohibits keeping big cats as pets and also bans contact between big cats and the public. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in July by a robust bipartisan vote of 278 to 134, and now the Big Cat Public Safety Act heads to the White House for President Biden’s signature. Earlier this year the president issued a statement supporting the legislation, so we expect to see him sign it without hesitation.
Our undercover investigations have helped expose the abuse of big cats in the U.S. This all starts with the breeding of big cats to produce cubs, who are removed from their mothers at birth. They are passed around for photos and profit, then discarded after a few months when they become too large and dangerous to handle. It then gets even worse for them, as they are warehoused in cramped cages at roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries, killed to make space for new animals, or kept as pets in backyard cages throughout the country.
With so many big cats ending up in the hands of unqualified people, it’s no surprise that emergency responders and local law enforcement agencies have been forced to deal with the inevitable escapes and attacks. Since 1990, more than 400 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats have occurred in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Five children and 19 adults have been killed, and hundreds of others have lost limbs or suffered other often-traumatic injuries.
India, Elsa and Loki, former “pet” tigers now living at Black Beauty Ranch—which is a Texas sanctuary run by the Humane Society of the United States—embody what has happened to many big cats in this country. Loki arrived in February 2019 after being found in an abandoned Houston home where he was living in a cage so small he could barely move. In 2021, the Bexar County Sheriff’s office seized Elsa after responding to a call about a crying animal and finding the 6-month-old tiger outdoors in freezing temperatures and wearing a harness. Just a few months later, authorities rescued India after a viral video showed him wandering the streets of a Houston neighborhood.
Today’s historic win has been a decade in the making, and results from our broad effort to address the exploitation of big cats by every means available. We supported efforts to pass laws banning the private possession of big cats and other dangerous wild animals in states such as Ohio, which passed a law following the 2011 Zanesville incident where a man released his menagerie of 38 big cats and a dozen other wild animals. We worked with legislators in Indiana, Nevada and Virginia to pass bans on public contact with big cats and other wild animals. And we successfully fought repeated efforts to reverse a ban on public contact with big cats in Kansas. But a more comprehensive federal law was necessary. This is a nationwide problem and demands a nationwide solution to interrupt the cycle of abuse for big cats and to keep the public safe.
Congress considered the Big Cat Public Safety Act in several previous sessions. Our consistent advocacy built awareness of the problem among legislators, leading to a successful House vote in the 116th Congress, and in the actions taken this year by the House and Senate. We could not have reached this point without the commitment and hard work of Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, co-leads of the Senate bill, S. 1210, who were essential to achieving today’s victory in the Senate and Reps. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., the co-leads of H.R. 263, who helped bring about the House votes in the 116th and 117th Congresses. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., helped advance the bills in their respective chambers.
Our campaign attracted the support of roughly 90 official endorsers, including many law enforcement organizations and officers, whose voices were integral as they are on the front lines of the big cat crisis, tasked with response when these dangerous situations become deadly.
When signed into law by President Biden, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will sound the death knell for the cub petting industry, and eliminate the terrible risks posed by the private possession of such animals. By closing the door on cub petting and the era of private citizens keeping big cats inappropriately, we’re making the country safer, better and kinder for all. It couldn’t happen fast enough.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Tenemos que aprender a respetar a todos los animalitos y cuidar de ellos al igual que de nuestro planeta
Amen! Y ellos estaban aqui antes que nosotros.
Stop das unendliche tierleid ..
Hilfe für die Tiger vor dem aussterben … Stop Wilderei ..
this is amazing news. I have volunteered at a reputable “big cat” Sanctuary in Texas for 20 years, so I really appreciate the importance of this legislation.
I still don’t see y it is okay to keep wild animals, like big cats, elephants, marrine life in roadside zoosor hideous aquariums. They keep babies from mom abuse all them.
We all need to wake up to what’s going on in this our so-called leader in world. Dogs being murdered dumped, abused, even by shelters that can kill at any point. Kittens cats even worse. America needs stop being selfish and learn these animals have families, emotions intelligence.
I agree soundly. Ignorance is Plentiful here in the U.S.inc
Humans have no humanity any more 😢
I agree!!!! Absolutely!!!!
I agree animals deserve respect and our country needs to do more to protect them from cruelty. We need way stronger punishment for those who abuse animals. God made them and mankind will pay one day for all abuse!!!!
Koodos for you Cathy. But, it’s so sad just seeing them in the hot Sun and cold weather. We have one not too far from us and the health and care is deplorable.
Totally agree! God Bless Our Friends in zoos, circuses, and in the wild.
And thank you for your service.
Thank the Lord God!
Thank you for your commitment to the proper treatment/respect of big cats!!! All animals deserve proper care/consideration just as humans do!👍💕🙏🥰
Thank you for volunteering at the santuary
Sooooo happy we seem to be making progress in some things. Hallelujah.
Zoo animals belong in their wild environment. Respect all live animals.!! Why don’t we try to put some humans that keep this cats in cages in their cage for a month see how they feel. .
Amen to that! All animals deserve to be free like God intended them to be not in cages ,zoo’s, backyards circus or any other hideous ideas that man kind does all in the name of “MONEY” POINT BLANK PERIOD!!!
I hear you Marta!!! Sounds like a great punishment to me!! I hate seeing all animals abused!! I’m so glad this Bill will be signed by President Biden!!!
Any more that we can get through??? Keep up the great work!!!
That is awesome news
I would like to know if there is some kind of plan or procedure in place that will be put into upon the signature of President Biden that will enable people to notify someone (who?)of the locations of animals that are currently in this cruel and desperate situations. For people that have witnessed these atrocities and were powerless to do anything about it as no laws were being broken now finally comes the time that using your voice can save an animal from suffering. I hope there is space and sanctuary for these poor abused animals. And finally today I pray that this law doesn’t create the result of having to put any of these big cats down for fear of public safety. Tranquilize them…please don’t kill them. Give them a chance to live without fear or pain or hunger. Thank you for getting this legislation passed into law to give this country a chance to become a leader in stopping the exploitation of these majestic animals.
It would also be great if there was a plan built into this legislation, that would create a way people could surrender their animals without getting into trouble for doing so. because you just know that there are people out there that won’t want to go to jail for this or pay, heavy fines or whatever the penalty is, and will kill the animals instead. That is not a better solution for these animals than the conditions they’re in now. None of it is OK but we all know that if humans feel threatened by this new law being passed, they will punish the animals so they’re not punished themselves. I really really hope there’s a good system in place for this when the law is signed by the president.
Thank for perious tigers safe
They deserve so much better then what we’ve done to them. I’m happy to see this step towards them being treated with respect and dignity like all living things should be treated.
We need to protect all and animals from cruelty abuse and neglect
I am glad Senate has passed the Act and waiting for it pass into Law
A pup was killed in a shelter n California, Baldwin park animal shelter yesterday
This happened in town same name. Peta needs to investigate. Pup was what two three most old, been there for month. Killed due to it being anxious. This one heard about. We can’t have these places murdering beautiful doggies kittens cause lack room or animal anxious n a cage.
Need animal protection from government
Animals are abused and neglected by Humans
Please consider this Act
I am very pleased to hear they pass this law. Keep up the great work
End this now
We must protect all animals. They have rights and don’t deserve abuse.
Save all the 🐈 big & little ones.
Here is my comment. People of the world come together and we have the power to stop anything. Make any act. Change any law. We stand together and force out any politician out of office until we get what we want. There is my comment. We need to simple stand together.
I agree with you 💯🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
This is the right thing to do albeit overdue. Thanks to all making this possible.
Save these babies
That’s good they passed the bill on abusing tigers they should be free in the wild and not in zoos or circus
So happy to see this and know the Big Cats will be protected!!
Im so glad the senate finally did something.
What wonderful news! It’s long past due.
Or just like to thank everyone who fights for all these animals especially all these big cats thank you again
Thank u for going our bug cats keep it up
Someone has to take stand cause they can’t speak so we have to. No animal should be abuse starved should be treated with respect.
PLEASE SAVE THE VIG CATS!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️
Stop this nonsense for the sake of the planet and animals
This is so awesome 😻
So very happy. This has been needed for some time. Thankyou and Godbless
I am so glad to hear this. Now these beautiful will be able to live their lives the way God meant for them to. Thank you!!
What wonderful news. This should have happened long ago. Thank you for your work!!!
My question is….Who in the heck voted against this bill???(134) No votes…What kind of j*** these people are…Thank you for pushing this through…
I am delighted that there are compassionate people in congress who are interested in fairness towards animals 😀
I can’t thank all you hard-working people who take on these kind of projects enough. I can’t imagine how much running around and calling and just doing incredible things to get these kind of projects together and off the ground. I’m sure it takes a lot of people that will never get credit for all the hard work that they put in, but I am here to say, “Thank you, thank you”, to everybody and anybody who took part in bringing this desperately-needed legislation for the big cats to the Congress and the president.
You almost have to be pretty messed up not to agree to this legislation. It’s highly sickening how people make money off the beautiful big cats and then just discard them without so much is a thought , I hope the bill includes some kind of “punishment” to the people that continue to defy the new legislation.
Again, thank you so much.
Elisa Terranova… Huge animal, lover! I have five “little cats”, and have rescued dozens of others throughout the years.
Such Great News!!! Really happy for the big cats and so grateful for all your hard work!!!!!! Great job!!
Please help to save wildlife and the 🌎!!! 🙏❤️🙏
Not ment to be pets. This should never happen. They all end put being put in a refuge or killed.
Stop this now.
HALLELUJAH 💖. Awesome news
Why would anyone want to kill these amazing creatures God has made? Thank you!!
This is excellent news!
Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make this a reality?!?!?!
Big Cata/Wild Animals do not belong with the unqualified and untrained who want them for profit or entertainment purposes?!?? GOD BLESS THE INNOCENT CREATURES!!
Please stop any kind of Abuse on these innocent animals… animals are not ours.
This is very important for these big cats. In fact all animals need a sanctuary. I’m glad the legislation realized the importance of this bill. Thank you for all your hard work support and dedication.
The best news ever! Long overdue!
Yes! Finally moving one step closer to ending animal cruelty for profit.
This has been long coming and we’re so thankful that this has finally been put in place!!
Stop animal cruelty 🙏
I am so glad they passed this bill! I think it’s horrific what people do to these wild tigers & lions and many other animals! Let see what we can do for ALL animals! They DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY!!!
Thank God!! They deserve to be protected.
Please leave these innocent creatures alone. They deserve their freedom and to stay with their mamas.
These big cats need to be free to live amongst us. Not in a cage or mistreated by men. Let them live their lives as was intended!
Stop this abuse
It’s about time!!
All animals are to be respected. They bare babies and care for them naturally. If they for some reason in your possession they want your direction they have a brain and and feelings.Learn. They are depending on the human kind we call brilliant and caring. Those who abuse should not have ANY ANIMALS OR ANY TYPE OF LIVING creatures. No fish or hamster nothing.
I really appreciate all this effort to save this beautiful big cat .
I want to be part of saving cats
We must also protect Mountain Lions and end hunting and abuse of fish and wildlife and the US forest service
We must also protect Mountain Lions and end hunting and abuse of fish and wildlife and the US forest service
Save them all.
I am begging you to support the Big Cat Pubkuc Safety act.. Roadside Zoos should not be allowed and people that own them personally. Too often they are not properly cared for and are in cages that are not big enough for them to move around properly. I can promise you would be doing them a huge favor!!!
Please do this for them and their protection!
I am soooo thrilled that finally big cats will be protected from being exploited !!! Now we need to work on the wolves!!!!!!
I really hope this goes through and is enforced. These animals definitely need protection.
I support this legislation. It makes no sense to have big cats as pet. They belong in their own natural wild habitat.
I just want the safety for these poor animals! It is wrong to put the in a zoo or keep them as pets there meant to be in the wild where they belong they deserve freedom !!
Wonderful News , elated to hear this , Now ! , if we could get all the other Animal Welfare Bills signed into Law . These Beautiful creatures need our help , they have suffered enough pain , torture , & cruelty for far too long at the hands of humanity . We are supposed to be caretakers & stewards not blood thirsty hunters , killing innocent creatures for sport . Protection For All Animals !!!
This is great news I appreciate the importance of the legislation it’s important to participate and to try and save all animals.
Fantastic news and long overdue. Thank you HSUS for your efforts. When signed into law, will any private citizen currently in possession of a big cat be required to give it up?
Wild animals are NOT pets. They deserve our respect and protection.
Stop killing beautiful tigers and all natural wildlife animals showing lots of peoples enjoyed and watch their beautiful life and please STOP passed the laws and you have no rights to DO that….all of you Senate and any laws show no remorseful and please show the feelings forward wildlife beautiful animals…thank you ❤️
So will big cat sanctuaries have to register with the government or HSUS? What about individuals who are humanely caring for big cats. Will they have to be surrendered? Don’t get me wrong, I strongly support the passing of this law. I just wonder about some of the practicalities. Thanks.
We demand justice justice justice justice justice justice
This is great news!! For the safety of the Big Cat!! I love it.
Precious and few. It is these types of beautiful animals that should be protected for our future to enjoy looking and appreciate.
Please pass this bill. These animals belong in the wild, not for peoples entertainment. These beautiful creatures belong in their natural habits.
Great news This is a giant step forward in protecting these beautiful animals. Thank you HSUS.
I am so thrilled hearing this news. I volunteered at a wildlife rescue just north of L.A. from mid 80’s to early 90’s where most of our big cats and other animals were rescues from roadside circuses, or private homes. We discussed this all the time about how to get a law like this one passed. Thank you for your passion and fortitude. You are true heroes to these beautiful animals!!
Thulere us no need to want hurt any animals needlessly!
Thank God for people like Ellen and other believers that support animals rights!
Who starts this stuff?
I have been waiting a long long time to hear this great news!! I pray no big cats, or small, will ever suffer another day at the hands of humans🐾🐾🙏🏼🙏🏼
We have to show respect and consideration to these beautiful animals they are part of our planet beauty, from North Miami Beach, Florida!
I am so glad someone is going to protect these beautiful majestic animals. To protect from poachers.
This is the first time in a long time that my anxiety is less. I’m so thrilled that finally these beautiful animals will really be taken care of. 👍
They are not pets
That’s good yeans passed that law
Thanks for all ur hard work
Big cat lover 🤠
Please end this
This is a historic win for the animals. We continue to be their voices and appreciate this day!
Lions Tigers and Bears in Alpine, California is my closest sanctuary and we love all our animals there’s
Thank you to everyone who supported this!
Thank you for your great work making the lives of so many animals safe and happier! And thank you for making this world more humane!
Wild animals belong in the wild
This news makes by day. I’m thinking today of all the cats who have suffered in the past but waiting for this day but also of the untold numbers who will be spared the worst of human exploitation and abuse. Thanks to us all in the HSUS community.
Thank you for passing the Big Cat Safety Act! Long overdue and I am so grateful!
Akitamama stay6 protect the majestic before they disappear
This is wonderful!!! Them being protected is such a very kind n amazing gift that we can provide for them!!
Thank you with all my heart!
I am glad there are people that care for the well being of animals and work tirelessly to keep them safe. In my opinion this is the war of good vs. evil. Man has meddled enough with nature, and man ought to stop trying to outdo the natural beauty and wonder in this world. Thank you for loosening mans slimy grasp on these precious big cats.
I’m hoping that all the beautiful animals will receive the same gift!!
Elephants especially need protecting! They are so intelligent!!! We have learned babysitting from them!! Among other things!!!
Please help for our future Generations
Please protect our big cats and wildlife.
Huzzah! Thank the Lord and thank all of you for your years long efforts to attain this monumental legislation. Now on to seeing it signed and enforced.
Please everyone let’s all try and help these animals they all deserve a great life
That’s wonderful news. Please fight for legislation that will stop abuse to all domestic animals.
ELATED TO HEAR THESE BEAUTIFUL CATS WILL FINALLY GET THE LIFE THEY DESERVE!!
Thank goodness this law finally get past I hope it passes for other animals that are also being used at the expense of human greed!!
Thank you! God Bless You!!!
This is such amazing news!!! I am such a huge animal lover and an old rescuer who unfortunately can no longer do rescue work with dogs and cats do to my age, but I still advocate for animals and will never stop as long as I live. I have a burden for all creatures great and small and wished we lived in a perfect world where humans would not abuse another living, breathing being which saddens me greatly. Thank you so much for all you are doing!
Thank you all for passing this bill. Hopefully this will stop the abuse of these animals
Please stop the Big Cat cruaĺ treatment and keep them safe from owners that know nothing about the proper treatment for these Big Cats .
Soooooo glad!!!!!!!! 😊
Thank you for your advocacy work! This is such good news!
This is Wonderful ❗Thank You to everyone who made this happen, & Kisses to All of YOU
Thank you for saving the big cats is good to hear other people saving animals especially the big cats amen!!!🙏😇🙏🌼🍀😊💞🌹🌹💕💯💯💯💯
Es una gran victoria. La vida animal es tan valiosa como la lo es la vida humana.
Big cats or any animals should not be abused in anyway ever!
I am so pleased! It’s another step forward for the safety and protection of wildlife.
Wonderful news! After watching the documentary “The Elephant in the Living Room” about the struggle authorities went thru to help a lion held selfishly by it’s owner in a horrible confinement, I have done all I can to educate anyone who will listen. Thanks to all who work to end the suffering of all animals!
Save all the kitties! People should not use or abuse them. They deserve to live free as God intended!!!
Thanks ☺️☺️☺️☺️👍👍👍 let save this beautiful creatures
Please protect Tigers
I’m so happy that we have laws that protect animals
This is wonderful news!! Thank each of you for all that you do for the animal kingdom.
Absolutely great news. No one should ever keep a lion or tiger as a pet. They need space to run and never kept in a cage. They need freedom. I really can’t go to any road side or city zoo. It makes me sad to see all the animals living in such limited space. Thanks for doing the right thing to help our furry friends.
This is. Wonderful. Long time coming !!! Soo happy they cannot take advantage of these great animals. Especially the little ones!!!
We need to preserve wild life in our planet, we the humans as the higher intellectual capacity in the planet, are responsible for taking care of our home and all living beings in it.
I am soooo excited!! It’s about time we start caring for animals and their well being. They deserve to be free and live the life nature meant for them. We need to stop exploiting and abusing animals. Thank you to all involved in making this happen.
I Am so very happy to read such great news! And I’m proud of the folks in Congress who supported it. Its how we should work together…both sides of the aisle!! Thank you for all that you do to protect these animals- they all need our voices to speak up for them!!
This is AMAZING!
Great news! We have to protect and respect wild animals outside of their natural environment. It’s not fair for them to keep them captive, just for fun to others, to make profit, or as house pets, their aren’t pets. We need to protect them, cause they can’t protect by themselves.
Put a stop to this
Be there voice 😸😸😻
Please end this murdering once and for all of these beutiful animals.
So glad this is happening. So proud of everyone voices. We need to speak for them. Thanks.
This is fantastic news and a gigantic victory for big cats and the natural world. Thank you HSUS, US Congress members who voted in favor, and all the others who persevered and worked for many years to make this a reality. Congratulations!
These Cats deserve to be safe and taken care of not abused for financial gain. Thank you Human Society And everyone else who got us this far! Thank God.
This is just great work! Love this.
May all who participated in this movement be blessed and a big Thank You to you. May this movement and many more animals be saved. GOD BLESS
So happy this is now law and these beautiful creatures will be able to live out their lives in peace and freedom.
Thank goodness you guys are bringing attention to this cruelty to these beautiful tigers and other beautiful animals!!!! None of God’s creatures should ever be treated that way!!! Only with love and kindness!!! The way our father in heaven intended !!!!He put these animals here for our enjoyment not to miss treated!!The people that hurt animals will pay dearly in the long run and they so deserve it!!!God bless you!!!!keep up the great work 👍 . I will be praying for you and these animals!!! Denise Sanders
Fantastic news… Thank you
FINALLY…IT SEEMS WE’VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR THIS FOREVER!!!!
This is really great news! Do you know or can you get to know when this law will go into effect? Thank you very much