MEDIA RELEASE: Victory! President Biden Signs the Big Cat Public Safety Act Into Law

MEDIA RELEASE: Victory! President Biden Signs the Big Cat Public Safety Act Into Law

WASHINGTON D.C. (Dec. 20, 2022)In Defense of Animals is welcoming a huge victory for captive lions, tigers and other big cats in the U.S. with the signing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and hybrids are all included, with only cheetahs excepted.

“We are delighted that the Big Cat Public Safety Act has finally become law,” said Brittany Michelson, Captive Animals Campaigner for In Defense of Animals. “It will be illegal to force lions, tigers, and other big cat species into unnatural situations for entertainment and as a result they will no longer be drugged, transported, and used as props for photo opportunities. Big cat ownership will be significantly restricted and exploitative ‘cub-petting’ phased out. We applaud the senate and the president for passing this very important animal protection law. Thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters joined our campaign over the decades to see this day finally come, in concert with the efforts of Big Cat Rescue and dozens of other animal charities.”

After easily passing in the House in July 2022, the Big Cat Public Safety Act looked doomed after being held up in the Senate by at least one senator. Miraculously, the block was lifted, and it passed by unanimous consent before heading to President Biden’s desk to be signed. 

This bill prohibits the private possession of big cats and makes it illegal for exhibitors, such as circuses and zoos, to allow direct contact with cubs, ending cub petting in the U.S. It also bans private ownership of big cats.

The success of the Big Cat Public Safety Act is due largely to the efforts of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, who was documented in “Tiger King.” Baskin has tirelessly advocated for this bill along with organizations like In Defense of Animals, whose supporters sent tens of thousands of emails to legislators.


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Contact: Brittany Michelson,, 928-420-0727

Recent In Defense of Animals advocacy alerts for the Big Cat Public Safety Act:

Sep. 30, 2022

Protect Big Cats from Being Drugged for Selfies

12,856 supporter actions to 6 decision-makers = 77,136 emails

March 12, 2021

Lions & Tigers Aren’t Photo Props: Take Action to Protect Big Cats!

10,719 supporter actions to 6 decision-makers = 64,314 emails

April 17, 2020

Protect Big Cats from Abusers Like the “Tiger King”

950 supporter actions to 6 decision-makers = 5,700

Total emails sent in past 32 months: 147,150

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin County, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.


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