Late February, H.R. 4122 was introduced by Representatives Buck McKeon (R) and Loretta Sanchez (D) of California, to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats.
H.R. 4122 states that private possession and breeding of big cats would become illegal, and would ensure that lions, tigers and other big cats are properly cared for and that current private owners can keep the big cats they currently possess but must register with the USDA (to keep animals from being slaughtered for their parts) and cease breeding entirely.
There's a lot going on in this bill- a lot of good. Currently in the U.S., there is no federal regulation for the protection of privately owned big cats. It is estimated there are 10,000 to 20,000 privately owned big cats in the United States. Those are all animals with no federal rights.
Big cats owned by even commercial exhibitors can be kept in tiny concrete and chain-link cages, similar to how chickens are crammed into metal crates with no room to move and no real contact with nature. This is not how these beautiful creatures should live.
To show your support for the life big cats in the U.S., visit Big Cat Rescue and contract congress to tell them that you support bill HR 4122.
Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/mdpettitt