House Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on Quigley Animal Welfare Legislation
Today, a legislative proposal introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), was the subject of a hearing held by the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Quigley’s legislation, H.R. 1380, The Big Cat Public Safety Act, would outlaw the private possession of big cats such as lions, tigers, panthers, and cheetahs, except at highly-qualified facilities that can safely and humanely care for the animals. Quigley introduced the bipartisan legislation earlier this year with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).
“Lions, tigers, cougars, and other large cats are not house pets. They are dangerous animals that should be in the wild or kept only in facilities that are equipped to properly care for them. Too often when these animals are kept by people who cannot care for them, the burden for dealing with them falls to first responders, who are not trained to handle wild animals and are put in harm’s way, said Quigley. “I’m thrilled that the House Natural Resources Committee is taking steps to move this legislation closer to becoming law. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues on the Animal Protection Caucus to advance this bill and other legislation like it that seeks to safeguard animals.”
Carson Barylak, Campaigns Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, testified in support of the Big Cat Public Safety Act during today’s hearing. In her written testimony, she said in part, “…further federal action in the form of a simple, nationwide standard is necessary in order to accomplish what some states have already tried to do: stop dangerous big cats in private possession from endangering communities... For the sake of public safety, protection of first responders, big cat welfare, and international conservation, it is critical that Congress pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act.”
The Big Cat Public Safety Act has over 80 bipartisan cosponsors and is supported by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, and Animal Defenders International.
Video of the full legislative hearing is available here.