Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting
and the Big Cat Pet Trade

PAWS continues to strongly support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in July. Support for the bill was bipartisan, with a vote of 278 to 134. The bill would prohibit the private ownership of big cats such as lions and tigers and restrict public contact with these animals, putting an end to cruel cub petting operations and their endless breeding of big cats for profit.


PAWS cares for tigers who were rescued from the exotic “pet” trade and defunct cub petting facilities – including Claire, Bigelow, Morris, Nimmo, Rosemary, and Wilhelm. 


We need your help to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act and ensure that big cats no longer have to suffer for entertainment and profit.


Take action!


1. Send a message to your U.S. senators

Please urge your U.S. senators to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act,

S. 1210. (Always include the bill number in your communications.) Locate your senators here. Click on the link that takes you to their home page. Locate “Contact” on the menu and send your message via the online form.


Sample message:

I am your constituent, and I very strongly support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (S. 1210).This bill would end the private ownership of big cats and restrict their use in cub petting attractions.


Untold numbers of big cats in the U.S. live in decrepit roadside zoos or as pets confined in impoverished backyard cages. They are denied space, a proper diet, and appropriate veterinary care. The public and first responders are put at risk when these apex predators escape or when they attack someone.


Cub petting attractions feed the exotic “pet” trade. These places continuously breed big cats and then tear the cubs away from their mothers so operators can sell handling sessions and photo ops to the public. Once the cubs grow too big for people to handle, they are discarded – sent to roadside zoos and private owners, or they simply “disappear.”


I urge you to do the right thing and support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (S. 1210), for the sake of the animals and public safety. Thank you.


(See points below that you can add to your message.)


2. Call your senators

Call your senators in Washington, DC, and deliver a short message. Give your name to the person who answers and state that you are a constituent of the senator. Tell them: “I am very concerned about the welfare of big cats kept in roadside zoos and as pets. These animals suffer in poor conditions and they pose a threat to the public and first responders. I am urging the senator to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, S. 1210, which would address these serious problems.”


3. Share

Use social media to encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to take action.


Information points on the Big Cat Public Safety Act:

  • Prohibits the possession of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, or any hybrid of these species by private individuals.
  • Zoos, universities, and bona fide sanctuaries are exempt from the prohibition.
  • Current captive big cat owners are grandfathered in, but they must register their animals. They cannot breed or acquire more big cats.
  • Restricts direct contact between the public and big cats of any age.

Why this bill is needed:

  • Thousands of big cats are thought to be in private hands, posing a danger to the public and to first responders when these animals escape or attack.
  • Since 1990, there have been nearly 380 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with 20 adults and five children killed and many more injured.
  • Cub petting operations continuously breed big cats so they can sell photo ops and handling sessions with young cubs to the public. Babies are torn from their mothers shortly after birth.
  • Cubs are often abused. They may be subjected to rough handling, denied sleep, and slapped, dragged and punched by handlers. 
  • Cubs who are too big to handle are discarded. No longer profitable, they may be funneled into private homes as dangerous exotic “pets”, sold to other disreputable exhibitors, or end up in the illegal trade in wildlife parts.
  • Cub petting facilities fuel the demand for “pet” big cats.


Thank you for taking action!

Click HERE to help PAWS' rescued tigers.
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