Protect Big Cats from Abusers Like the “Tiger King”

Protect Big Cats from Abusers Like the “Tiger King”

The world has watched in astonished horror in recent weeks as convicted serial animal abuser, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic” has received undeserved fame with the release of the hit Netflix docuseries, Tiger King. We are at a watershed moment now that the whole world has seen how captive big cats, like tigers and lions, suffer constant breeding, bloody killings, and miserable daily lives in zoos and private collections. The time for us to act is now to shut down the rampant abuse of captive big cats throughout the U.S.!

Maldonado-Passage ran a notorious roadside zoo and tiger breeding facility in Oklahoma called the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and for years had been repeatedly cited and fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act. He's currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for murder-for-hire and animal abuse and wildlife violations, including the illegal killing of five tigers and illegally selling tiger cubs.

Roadside zoos like his profit by charging the public a fee to interact with cubs and big cats for “selfies” or photoshoots. To get the animals to participate in these photoshoots, they are drugged, beaten into submission, or simply too young to fight back. The ongoing abuse these animals endure is horrific.

These facilities separate cubs from their mothers immediately or very soon after birth so they can be handled by visitors; it’s an endless cycle of breeding to keep cute cubs available for the public. Once cubs are too big and dangerous to handle, they face a terrible fate. They may end up in the illegal wildlife trade, or sold to other unscrupulous zoos or exhibitors, or to people who are unqualified to care for them as “pets.”

The public interacting with abused wild animals and private possession of abused big cats as "pets" is a serious danger to animal welfare and public safety.

Thankfully, federal legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to protect big cats and the public. The Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1380 and S. 2561) will make it illegal for exhibitors to allow public contact with big cats, and ban private possession of big cats as “pets.”

Please join us in supporting this important piece of legislation that will protect these majestic animals from abusers and profiteers, and also protect public safety.

What You Can Do

Please ask your two U.S. senators and your one U.S. representative to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

1) Call your two U.S. senators and one U.S. representative to urge them to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act by clicking on the link below, entering your zip code, and clicking on the federal tab. Then, make three quick phone calls to their offices.

When you call, state your name, your town or city, and your telephone number.

Here's an example of what you can say:

As your constituent, I want to encourage you to please support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1380 and S. 2561). This important legislation will protect tigers and other big cats from abuse and protect the public by eliminating public contact with big cats and the possession of big cats as pets.

2) Send our letter to your two U.S. senators and one U.S. representative by filling out the form on this page.

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