OAN Correspondent Roy Francis
UPDATED 12:18 PM PT – Wednesday, December 21, 2022
President Joe Biden signed the Big Cat Public Safety Act into law on Tuesday. The Act bans private ownership of several species of large cats.
The bill, which was backed by the “Tiger King” star Carole Baskins, bans the ownership of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars, and jaguars, or any cross-species hybrid of any of those animals.
The bill also makes cub-petting illegal, outlaws the breeding of big cats for private ownership, as well as prohibits close contact with big cats.
Although private ownership is now illegal, a grandfather clause allows individuals who already own a big cat to retain them as long as they register the animal with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Violators could face a $20,000 fine and or up to five years in jail if they violate the new bill.
A press release from bill sponsor Representive Mike Quigley (D-Ill) gave the show “Tiger King” credit in bringing awareness to “the miserable conditions thousands of tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas are kept in by irresponsible owners.”
“This law caps off years of PETA legal actions that resulted in the rescue of 75 big cats, took down Tiger King villains Tim Stark and Jeff Lowe, and established that big-cat cub petting violates the Endangered Species Act,” Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement said.
Although the bill prohibits private ownership of big cats, zoos and properly licensed animal sanctuaries are still allowed to exhibit the animals.