Letter to the Editor: Support the Big Cat Public Safety Act

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More tigers are living in captivity in the U.S. than remain in the wild. Let that sink in. An estimated 4,000 wild tigers roam throughout Asia. But experts believe there are over 5,000 captive tigers in America kept in tiny cages as backyard pets, used to breed cubs for cruel photo/petting ops, or languishing in roadside zoos.

The tiger cubs exploited by breeders in order to charge the public to pet them or take photos with them are torn from their mothers at birth, a torment to both mother and cub, deprived of sleep, deprived of the mother’s milk that supports their immune systems, and physically punished to diminish their natural behaviors. There is no tracking of how many die in the process  or what happens to the survivors.

In addition there is a serious public safety threat that no state is immune from, not even ours. Since 1990, there have been more than 700 dangerous incidents in the U.S. involving captive exotic cats, including hundreds of escapes, and numerous maulings and even death of children and adults. It is our first responders — police, sheriffs, firefighters and animal control officers — who must potentially deal with this public safety threat because your neighbor down the street selfishly wanted to own a big cat as a pet. Law enforcement does not have the resources needed to sedate an adrenaline-pumped big cat.

A federal bill called the Big Cat Public Safety Act would phase out the private ownership of big cats as pets and put a stop to abusive cub petting. The bill is endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association and the sheriff in Ohio whose deputies had to face 38 big cats let loose by a man who then committed suicide. Please learn more and take action at BigCatAct.com.

 

Barbara Colvin, 

Toledo