The House of Representatives has passed HR 1380, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This legislation will help prevent captive tigers from ending up in the illegal trade in tiger parts and products, the primary threat to the species in the wild. The bill will also help ensure the welfare of captive big cats, as well as public safety. In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Leigh Henry, director of wildlife policy:
“The passage of this bill marks long-awaited progress toward effective oversight of the thousands of captive tigers scattered across the United States. We encourage the Senate to now do its part to ensure this important bill becomes law.
“By requiring facilities to obtain a federal permit for big cat ownership, this bill helps provide a full picture of where captive tigers are in this country, in addition to who owns them, when they're sold or traded and what happens to their valuable parts when they die. Currently, the lack of uniformity and information that exists increases the likelihood that captive tigers can easily slip off the radar and filter into illegal wildlife trade.
“By passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act, Congress can send a message to the world that the US will continue to stand strong against wildlife crime. But we cannot end illegal tiger trade alone – we need other countries to join us, particularly China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, whose tiger farms are helping to fuel the illegal trade in these big cats. Our hope is that stricter regulation of captive tigers in the US will be just the beginning of a global trend – and a more secure future for tigers in the wild.”