In a funny, yet somewhat disturbing, video from Big Cat Rescue (BCR) big cats themselves show off their natural instincts and demonstrate exactly why they shouldn’t be kept as pets.
The video shows a number of species of big cats stalking an “unsuspecting” man before pouncing. When he turns and they recognize him, they act like they weren’t just about to try to make him lunch, but it shows that even though they’re captive and used to humans their natural instincts as predators never really leave.
A number of organizations including BCR, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Born Free and the Humane Society of the United States have been campaigning to end private ownership of big cats in the U.S. to protect both them and the public.
In the U.S. there are believed to be more than 10,000 privately owned big cats, including lions, tigers and cougars. In the past two decades, more than 300 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats have resulted in the deaths of 21 people, including 5 children, and close to 250 additional incidents where humans have been mauled or injured. There have also been hundreds of big cats who have been killed and confiscated, according to IFAW.
Not only do they pose a safety risk to us, but keeping them at private residences, roadside zoos and businesses that exploit the public’s desire to play with infants, among other places, has raised serious concerns about their psychological and physical welfare. After being separated from their mothers, many have had to endure conditions where at best their needs aren’t met or are at worst blatantly abusive. Many are left in inadequate enclosures and have been mutilated to make them less dangerous.
BCR also raised concerns about the fate of big cats who become too big, aggressive or expensive for their owners to keep. Some may end up in unaccredited facilities, while others are used for canned hunting or killed for their meat or body parts.
We only have to think back to the tragic incident in Zanesville, Ohio, to be reminded of how terribly wrong keeping exotic animals can go or look at other situations like Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop to see why these animals shouldn’t be privately owned.
Unfortunately, not all states are equal when it comes to regulating private ownership of big cats and keeping people and big cats safe. A number of states have laws banning the private possession of big cats, but many others have weak or no laws at all in place.
Big cat advocates have been working to get the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act passed this year, which will fix the patchwork of state laws by creating a federal ban private ownership and breeding of big cats in the U.S.
Please sign and share the petition urging your representative to support and co-sponsor legislation that will help keep big cats and the public safe.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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