Exklusively for zoos.media – 29th of July in 2022. Autor: Philipp J. Kroiss
The Big Cat Public Safety Act is more dangerous than many people assume. Here is why this bill is a fraud and a threat to animal welfare and conservation.
Big Cat Public Safety Act: Fraud & Threat
Sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA) claim to have two goals: improve public safety and end so-called “pay to play” photo and petting experiences. In fact, the bill will fail in doing so. It is actually a threat to conservation and is just a trojan horse to give some tiger husbandries kind of exclusive rights. That’s a big problem because big parts of the untrustworthy tiger husbandries get their bad procedures even covered.
License for bad husbandry
The bad husbandry of sanctuaries greenwashed or even managed by the animal rights industry became obvious through the portrayal of Carole Baskin in the “tiger king” series. Big Cat Rescue‘s “Chronology of Horror” was known long before. There are numerous so-called sanctuaries in the US having a roadside zoo standard but are being greenwashed by the animal rights industry. According to this act, sanctuaries like this would have virtually no requirements beyond agreeing not to breed or exhibit animals.
These animal rights sanctuaries are one exemption of this act kind of outlawing having tigers in human care in the United States. Even federally licensed businesses would have to go through a lot to be able to have big cats after that act passes. Animal rights sanctuaries won’t. In addition, the bill does also not say what happens if a sanctuary would lose this exemption by having an accidental litter of cubs. So, all this happens to be a license for bad husbandry as long as you don’t breed big cats, which is animal cruelty in the long term. Especially when we talk about lions because they would be unable to form natural social groups but it’s also a problem for other big cats as well.
Public Safety? Come On!
If you would really aim to benefit public safety, you would apply standards to all husbandries that would prevent the animals to leave the place where they should be. This is not happening in the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which is obvious if you look at exemptions like the one for so-called “sanctuaries”. It’s a bill based on animal rights ideology. It’s not based on science or animal welfare standards because it then would deal differently with bad husbandries and doesn’t give such kind of “licenses” as mentioned above.
For a more detailed analysis of even more problems of this bill, you can read this article.
But what is this ideology about? Banning all kinds of animal husbandry is one of the cores of the animal rights ideology. So, this Big Cat Public Safety Act would be a door opener to ultimately end the husbandry of big cats. This bill ignores the fact that IUCN’s One Plan Approach requires a combination of measurements in situ and ex situ. Luckily, there are private owners of big cats taking this seriously and providing educational experiences to reach people with the message of conservation without being a zoo or something like this. Losing them, would not benefit conservation or public safety at all.
AZA’s Infamous Role
Another exemption to this legislation would be zoos cooperating within the AZA-inhabited Species Survival Plan or even being a member of this zoo association. All other trustworthy zoological institutions that have good reasons to not be part of the AZA network would not be included in this exemption. So, also this bill is AZA trying to get a somehow monopolistic position for tiger breeding or, at least, this is what the animal rights industry baited them with. Of course, once this is in place, it is much easier for the animal rights industry to continue the plan to end tiger husbandry in total.
The animal rights industry made a useful idiot out of the AZA’s opportunistic management that now supports a plan that will come back to AZA zoos like a boomerang. This will ultimately harm the member zoos and international tiger conservation as well. But AZA also failed on another level: the management showed and shows that it prefers animal rights extremists to trustworthy other zoos and private owners. This is a disastrous sign that also abuses the reputation of many good zoos being AZA members for an agenda that ultimately harms them and valuable allies most.
Animal rights industry won’t stop
It would be stupid to assume that this Big Cat Public Safety Act would kind of appease the animal rights industry. It won’t. No appeasing strategy will ever achieve this. They want to ban every kind of animal husbandry – with only exemptions for them, of course – in order to implement this ideology that will make comprehensive conservation impossible. So, it won’t stop with big cats, chimps, elephants, cetaceans, or other groups of animals. They use these popular animals to implement door openers.
In the next step, these door openers will then be used to harm animal husbandry more and more. More limitations will come and in the end, there will be no more zoos saving species. So, this Big Cat Public Safety Act is part of a fraud and a big thread for everyone having animals in care. “We want the end of all animal husbandry“, explained a representative of PETA, an organization that also cheers for the bill these days. This aim of the animal rights industry never changed and it won’t change. That’s why it’s so dangerous to cave into their demands and support legislation they authored.