Lion cub with its mother | Photo: David Dennis, License: CC BY-SA 2.0

The Big Cat Public Safety Act passed – now what?

Published on the 11.12.2022. | By: Rachel Garner

After several years, the Big Cat Public Safety Act has finally been adopted. Now, general perplexity prevails due to the act’s vague wording.

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Note: Weeks ago, already criticised the short-sighted and opportunistic decision of the American Zoo Association, AZA, to support the legislative proposal. Now nobody really knows what the approval will mean for their husbandry. The AZA is naively counting on an interpretation of the law that will favour them. But now that the law is soon to be passed, as no one expects a veto from president Biden, this is no longer so clear. The article explains it thoroughly.

An example: The new law dictates that the public must always keep a distance of 15 feet, or 4,5 metres, to most big cat species at all times. There is one notorious exception to this, namely when a “sufficient” barrier prevents contact with the public. This “sufficient” is not defined and it is uncertain how the control authority will interpret it. Even zoos that currently still feel safe could be faced with a number of reconstruction measures.

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