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The desire to have a tiger as a house pet is understandable, but for most people, its a daydream, as it should be. The reality is that big cats are wild animals, and no matter what age you bond with them, no matter how affectionate they might be, they cannot survive as a pet.
Despite the obvious difficulties of trying to feed and house a tiger or lion, the majority of "owners" are unable to care for the animals through adulthood. The cost of keeping a tiger alive and healthy in captivity is upwards of $6,000 a year , and many people simply abandon the animals or neglect them to an abhorrent degree. Currently, there are between 5,000-7,000 big cats in private captivity in the United States . Thats more than are still alive in the wild! There are not enough sanctuaries in the US to house and care for the number of big cats abandoned each year, leading to a massive issue for humans and animals alike.
Purchasing a big cat is surprisingly easy, and while sanctuaries and zoos are held to safety and cruelty standards by the Department of Agriculture , each state in the country has different laws regarding exotic animals. The Endangered Species Act does not prohibit breeding or selling endangered animals , so tracking every sale is impossible, especially across state lines. Some states have blanket bans in place, and some states lack any kind of regulation at all. Worst of all, the Department of Agriculture has no regulatory power over private owners, meaning the most severely abused animals have next to no hope.
The safest and smartest choice is for the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture to amend the federal Lacey Act, making sure it bans the selling, purchasing, and housing of big cats. Any cat in the United States belongs in a reputable sanctuary or zoo where they can be cared for and live out their lives in peace, not as house pets.
Sign now to ask the House and Senate chairmen of the Department of Agriculture to spearhead an effort to amend the Lacey Act to protect big cats!
To the House and Senate chairmen of the Department of Agriculture:
It's seldom discussed, but America has a problem with exotic animals, namely the nearly 7,000 tigers and other exotic cats that are currently kept as house pets. There are more captive tigers in the US than in the wild! These animals are often neglected, abused, and pose a massive safety hazard to the public, no matter how well behaved they seem.
The Department of Agriculture already inspects and protects big cats that live in zoos and accredited sanctuaries, but the animals under private ownership have no protections, and no guarantee of the animal's safety, or the public's.
Saving the lives of these animals and assuring they find a safe and protected home is not only a win for the United States, but for the conservation of a rapidly diminishing species. The Lacey Act already protects a number of species, and simply widening the scope to prohibit the breeding, selling, and purchasing of big cats would save thousands of tigers, and offer a measure of protection for citizens across the country.