After the Texas missing tiger saga, owning a big cat as a house pet might become illegal

May 17, 2021 at 08:56

(CNN) Tales of Bengal tigers on the loose, like the one found roaming a Houston front yard last week, may soon be history if a bipartisan bill becomes law.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act would largely ban people from owning lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars and jaguars as house pets.
Zoos and sanctuaries would be exempt, as would people who already own big cats -- as long as they register their animals promptly.
"Additionally, the bill would prohibit public petting, playing with, feeding, and photo ops with cubs," the Animal Welfare Institute said in an April statement.
"Breeders often separate mother cats from their cubs immediately after birth, leading to physical and psychological harm as it interrupts the mother-cub bonding process and taxes cubs' underdeveloped immune systems.
It is stressful and frightening for the cubs to be passed around in crowds of people, and the handlers often physically abuse them to force them to 'behave.'
The profit derived from encouraging the public to handle and pose with cubs is the primary driver of surplus tigers flooding the exotic animal trade in the United States and results in untold numbers of animals being subjected to trauma and abuse."