Press Releases

On the Enactment of the Big Cat Public Safety Act

The New York City Bar Association applauds Congress and President Biden for enacting the Big Cat Public Safety Act. It is a momentous piece of bipartisan legislation that has become the law of the land in protecting big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars or any hybrid of such species) by regulating the private ownership and exhibition of these exotic and wild animals. In many states it is easier to purchase a tiger cub than to go to a local humane society and adopt a puppy. With anywhere from 5,000-7,000 privately held tigers in the United States, the number of privately owned tigers far exceeds the number of wild tigers, of which there are approximately 3,200 worldwide. The Act closes the ambiguities and inadequacies of other federal laws and supersedes the patchwork, ineffectiveness and lack of relevant state laws. In so doing, the law helps combat the vicious cycle of abuse, breeding, trading and dumping of big cats; serves to safeguard the safety of the public and law enforcement agents from dangers associated with private ownership; promotes animal welfare and wildlife conservation; and combats illegal wildlife trafficking.

Rebecca Seltzer and Robyn Hederman
New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee