Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA) reintroduced to restrict possession of wild animals

A Siberian Tiger waits to be fed by Chinese tourists in a bus at the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park on August 16, 2017 in Harbin, northern China (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

In the wake of a neglected tiger rescued from a Houston home, among many other big cat incidents, the U.S. House of Representatives has reinstated the Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA) to prevent further captivity of wild animals. 

According to the Animal Welfare Institute, there have been at least 375 dangerous incidents involving big cats in the United States since 1990. This bill would ensure that unqualified individuals are prohibited from obtaining and keeping dangerous big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards and cougars. 

“There is a big cat crisis in the United States,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “There are thousands in captivity and we don’t even know where they are. Private individuals keep big cats as ‘pets,’ where they languish in grossly inadequate conditions and pose a severe risk to the surrounding community, including law enforcement.”

The BCPSA not only prohibits private ownership of big cats, but also prevents public handling of cubs, in addition to feeding, petting, and taking photos. This has created an active and lucrative market for cubs where they are separated from their mothers, subjected to handling for a few months, and then dumped elsewhere to be replaced soon after. 

Many animal welfare organizations are celebrating the reintroduction of the BCPSA.The Animal Welfare Instute released this statement on Tuesday.

Fox 26 reported this story from Houston, Texas.