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Press Release: Big Cat Public Safety Act passes US House

Lionesses having a nap at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Lionesses having a nap at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

The restrictions on breeding, trade and exploitation of big cats would ensure their health and safety and keep them out of petting and roadsize zoos and ban private possession. Let’s help this bill pass. The release includes links to research your representatives so you can easily contact.

July 29, 2022
Media Contact: (323) 804-9920
[email protected]

Celebrities call for support to end cub petting and exploitation of big cats

Washington D.C. – The US House of Representatives has passed (278-134) a bill to ban private possession, public contact and increase restrictions on the breeding, trade, and exploitation of big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR263/ S1210), sponsored by Representative Mike Quigley and Senator Richard Blumenthal, now heads to the Senate floor.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is joined by a variety of celebrities calling on the public to support the bill, which focuses on the private ownership, trade, and breeding of certain species – it is directly aimed at backyard breeders, roadside zoos, cub petting, & photo operations – the ‘Joe Exotics’ in the US.

Award-winning TV legend Bob Barker said, “The abuse big cats suffer is indefensible. They are starved, mistreated, kept isolated in tiny cages, their paws mutilated, their bodies drugged, their lives miserable, and their deaths violent and ugly. It must stop. Please join Animal Defenders International in supporting the Big Cat Public Safety Act today.”

Captive big cats are frequently declawed, though the practice is prohibited by the USDA since 2005, and often have smashed teeth. Exhibitors rely upon physical abuse, severe confinement, and drugs to put these dangerous species in direct contact with the public, endangering both the animal and humans. This perpetuates the myth that these wild animals can be tamed or exist in close quarters with humans, and current regulations permit tiny, barren, inappropriate caging for these naturally wide-ranging species.

Award-winning songwriter Diane Warren said, “No animal should be caged or have their babies taken from them at birth. We must teach compassion for all living creatures. No true sanctuary would ever keep animals in these shameful and cruel conditions, and no animals should be made to exist purely for human entertainment.”

Actress Alexandra Paul said, Breeding big cats in captivity is not conservation. Captive breeding will often result in compromised gene pools and unnatural hybrids. It would be disastrous to wild populations if the damaging genetic results of captive in-breeding found their way into the wild gene pool.”

Cubs older than 3-4 months become too big and dangerous for photo ops and cub petting, driving breeding at unnatural rates to constantly supply new cubs for petting and photo ops. After the young cubs grow too large, they may be sold to roadside zoos, or as private ‘pets’. They (or their body parts) may also be trafficked, or they may just disappear altogether. The US does not track this – no one knows how many cubs are bred, traded, die, or what happens to them after they’re no longer used.

Actress Jorja Fox said, “It is heartbreaking to know that these cubs used for photo props are pulled from their mothers, deprived of all that is natural to them, and endure a life of severe confinement, constant travel, overbreeding, and physical abuse. This is why I am joining Animal Defenders International to ask you to please, pick up the phone and call your Senators today, urging them to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act.”

Actress Tonya Kay said, “Kids aren’t learning about big cats in roadside zoos. They’re learning about animal abuse. Roadside zoos are confining the largest of wild animals in tiny cages unable to exhibit any natural or healthy behaviors. The only place to learn respect and appreciation for these dangerous cats is viewing them in the wild. It’s time to end roadside zoos.”

Legislative action is needed to end the suffering of the animals, because these practices harm species conservation efforts, and because failed federal oversight has, for decades, allowed (and continues to allow) this abuse.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said, “Animals are not objects of entertainment, and it is disgraceful to continue to allow them to be treated as such. A life of confinement and abuse is no life at all. It is time to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act and put an end to the cub petting and backyard breeding of big cats in the US.”

ADI has made it easy to call or email legislators, with phone numbers, talking points, and email templates here:


Contact: ADI Media Desk, [email protected], (323) 804-9920

Animal Defenders International (ADI): 

Los Angeles – London – Bogota

Behind some of the biggest and most dangerous large scale animal rescues in the world, with daring undercover missions to expose the suffering of animals.

Active worldwide to end animal suffering, ADI’s undercover investigations inside laboratories, circuses, animal traffickers and Hollywood animal trainers, have led to prosecutions and new laws to protect animals.

Bans on all, or wild animals in circuses have been secured in almost 50 countries. In Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Guatemala, ADI has been called in to help government wildlife officials enforce the bans and empty the cages. The ADI team tracks down illegal circuses wherever they go, facing threats and abuse as they take the suffering animals to a new life. These rescues often include large-scale relocations of animals – flying over 50 monkeys to forest sanctuary habitats or 33 lions from Peru and Colombia to South Africa.

ADI cares for many of these circus survivors in their 455-acre sanctuary in South Africa, where lions and tigers roam huge natural enclosures – the lions, who once lived in cages the size of double beds, enjoy something of the life they were meant to live. ADI also cares for monkeys and bears in the natural homes in Latin America. All the animals have incredible stories of survival.

ADI was founded in 1990; is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit; a registered charity in the UK and South Africa; has offices in Colombia and Peru. Winner of a 2021 Great Non Profit Certificate.

Follow ADI on social media:

Facebook: @AnimalDefenders

Twitter: @AnimalDefenders

Instagram: @animal_defenders_international

ADI TV YouTube:

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I subscribe to a variety of reading lists to constantly further my knowledge of health and welfare for cats and other pets, domestic animals and wildlife. I occasionally publish press releases I think my readers will appreciate, and I share them by choice with no compensation. When I am occasionally compensated for a post I clearly note that is a “sponsored post”.

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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