Senate votes to ban petting cubs in bill pushed by Tampa’s Carole Baskin

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Carole and Howard Baskin of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa have worked in animal welfare for years, but most of the customers who paid to hold a tiger cub at the zoo were caused by a tiger cub. I realized that I had never known the misery I was in.

Pay-to-play business owners separate cubs from their mothers after giving birth, force them to interact with the public, and often lock them in small concrete cages when they are too large to handle. did.

Breeding has become a major cause of overcrowding of captive big cats in the United States, as animals that have grown past the photographic stage have been handed over to roadside zoos, private homes and other hellish places. I’m here.

Ten years after it was first introduced, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday banning child petting and private ownership of big cats.The Big Cat Public Safety Act is now signed into law by President Biden I am looking for He has already expressed his support for this measure.

“I tell people there are thousands of tigers in their backyards all over the country, but the phrase I hear most often on our tours is ‘I didn’t know’,” said Howard Baskin. .

Nature reserves, zoos and universities can continue to keep big cats under the law.

Individuals who currently have large cats become grandparents, but the pet must be registered so local authorities are aware that exotic animals live in the community.

Carol Baskin has spent 30 years advocating for cub contact and the end of private property rights, but she and her husband were mobilized by the national animal welfare organization in 2011 to help craft legislation. Did.

It’s been introduced annually since 2012, but didn’t pass the House until 2020 after the release of Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ The series brought unprecedented attention to the exploitation of big cats in America.

“Tiger King” follows the antics of Oklahoma zoo keeper Joseph Maldonado Passage, one of the most vicious actors in the pay-to-play industry. The show featured disrespect for Baskin when the Maldonado Passage warned against Baskin’s abuse.

Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2020 for wildlife crimes, including killing five tigers to make room for new animals at his zoo and plotting to kill Baskin. was handed down.

One of the most notorious businesses, Dade City’s Wild Things, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals closed in 2020 after winning lawsuit A zoo over the petting business with cubs.

It is impossible to know the exact number of large cats in captivity in the United States, as some states do not have laws against keeping exotic cats as pets. There is also no credible reporting system for breeders who breed and ship bear cubs across state lines, blurring the inventory counts that federally licensed exhibitors are supposed to take each year. .

However, estimates put the number of tigers in captivity in the United States at nearly 10,000. There are less than 4,000 tigers left in the wild worldwide.

Carol Baskin with Dutchess the Tiger at Big Cat Rescue 2020. [ Courtesy of Carole Baskin ]
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Carol Baskin said the law would give the United States the long-lost credibility to prevent the extinction of wild tigers.

“It’s the final proof that the US is cleaning up its own mess,” she said. “If we don’t protect tigers from habitat loss and poaching, we will lose tigers in the wild. I don’t even know where I am,” he said.

Howard Baskin said bipartisan support from lawmakers and support from public security organizations helped him pass the bill in the Senate this year. Previously, first responders and law enforcement agencies across the country had no way of knowing when dangerous animals were living in their communities.

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