Big cat policy: Safe or misguided?

By Alexis Corine McGowan

From time to time people have grown up thinking the norm of having a big cat perform in a circus or kept as some pet for personal use or entertainment. There are known public records of the dangerous consequences when keeping big cats. As shared in an article written in the Animal Welfare Institute stating, “Since 1990, there have been at least 400 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in 46 states and the District of Columbia.” The numbers are alarming, but this can all be solved by not allowing people to own big cats as a pet or some sort of “act” in a circus or any sort of performance done by these WILD animals. Which can all be stopped by having the Big Cat Policy in action.

Photo by Satria Bagaskara

The Big Cat Policy can actually stop all of the casualties by upholding the big cat policy. Animal Legal Defense Fund states, “The Big Cat Public Safety Act addresses this gap and prohibits the private ownership of big cats. Big cats belong in the wild or, in situations where captive animals can no longer safely be returned to the wild, in accredited sanctuaries equipped to meet their complex physical and psychological needs.” What does that mean actually? It means that people won’t be able to own big cats as pets.

You may be wondering what are the differences between owning a big cat and keeping them in zoos. Studies have shown that there are more than 180 million people who visit zoos and the fun fact is that those large numbers are bigger than those that watch or attend sports games such as the NBA and even the NFL combined. When you think about it is a lot and those exposures to big cats mean a great deal. At zoos, people are educated about the species and what is the species position in the world, and how they help the environment by simply existing.

The president and CEO of American Humane Robin Ganzert made a profound statement stating, “zoos provide people, especially impressionable children, with the opportunity to see these remarkable animals up close. People won’t protect what they don’t love, and they can’t love what they don’t know. No matter how closely programs like Planet Earth depict animals, nothing will match the bond of seeing them in real life. Just look at a child’s eyes at the zoo when he or she encounters a tiger or similarly majestic animal.” Those types of feelings and moments can only be seen through someone who sees the big cats as educating purpose rather than an oo or ah at a circus show which does nothing for the environment but harms big cats.

Other places where big cats that have been performers can find a sheltered and growing love like visiting a zoo are sanctuaries. Sanctuaries take in big cats that have been harmed by people to the point where they can’t be released into the wild because they won’t survive. For example, some big cats come to sanctuaries with no claws or any survival tactics like hunting for prey or blending into their original born habitat which is the wild. The education and safety of big cats through sanctuaries provide are beneficial to not only the damage done by humans but also to help a big cat find love, purpose, and hope in those that come to sanctuaries.

This founding information and continuum to support the Big Cat Policy would help out many of those that adore these animals we know today as big cats to help them flourish whether it but the wildlife in the beauty of experiencing big cats in their natural habit. Places like zoos to educate or sanctuaries to repair those that are been tried to domesticate or abused in the process.

There is no place for these beautiful majestic animals to be kept as a pet or some sort of toy. The Big Cat Policy can do more good than what man does only to these beautiful animals. Messing with mother nature has never been on the side of man the capture stops here and now. Because your voice is what can stop the next buyer from ripping a big cat from its natural habitat or scaring a big cat as it plays jumping through hoops to help get its next meal to survive the show business life. These are no times for fun and tricks when it comes to the situation of this sort of abuse continues. Contact your local government and aid your thoughts in support of the Big Cat Policy be the voice of the voiceless it ends now.

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