Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said the Big Cat Safety Act is supported by law enforcement agencies and dozens of organizations Zoos and sanctuaries, which gives it “significant momentum”.
“Whether Joe Exotic, Doc Antle or Joe Blow, we cannot allow private individuals to keep big cats captive for pleasure or for profit,” she said in a statement. “These operations endanger the public and bring the worst fate to the animals concerned.”
According to Mr Blumenthal’s bill, it would be illegal for a private person to transport, breed or own big cats across national borders. This excludes zoos, sanctuaries, and other exhibitors and organizations licensed by the Department of Agriculture or a federal agency registered with the Department. Under the bill, no zoo or exhibitor could allow direct contact between members of the public and the animals.
According to Mr. Blumenthal’s office, all zoos must already be federally licensed by law.
Ms. Baskin’s organization, Big Cat Rescue, has long advocated the Big Cat Safety Act, which was first introduced in 2012. The organization has been calling for a ban on petting boys for more than 20 years.
“There is almost nothing more adorable than a tiger cub, and it’s very understandable if you don’t know the backstory of wanting to stroke a tiger cub and take a picture with it,” said Howard Baskin, Ms. Baskin’s husband and Big Cat’s treasurer and secretary Rescue. “It’s a miserable life for the boy.”
The documentary has been criticized by conservation groups and animal rights activists for failing to focus enough on roadside zoo abusive practices and instead playing up eye-catching details, including the mystery of the disappearance of Ms. Baskin’s first husband.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are more captive tigers in backyards, roadside zoos, and rest stops than in the wild.