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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Introduces Bipartisan "Big Cat Public Safety Act"

Feb 26, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, joined Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) in introducing the bipartisan Big Cat Public Safety Act. The bill prohibits the ownership of dangerous big cats and makes it illegal for exhibitors to allow public contact with cubs.

“From irresponsible breeding to inhumane living conditions and public exploitation, the mistreatment of big cats comes in a variety of forms,” said Rep. Quigley. “By introducing the Big Cat Public Safety Act, we are working to address a serious issue that causes immeasurable animal suffering and introduces inexcusable threats to human safety. State laws regarding private ownership of big cats are inconsistent or nonexistent, which is why a uniform federal law is necessary to end this dangerous industry once and for all.”

 “Big cats are some of the world’s most majestic wild animals. They should not be penned in as ‘pets’ or used for selfies for a fee taken from an unsuspecting public,” said Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We applaud Representatives Quigley and Fitzpatrick for their work to end this inhumane treatment of captive big cats, and look forward to the day when wild cats are just that—wild.”

“As a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I’m committed to ensuring our government is doing its part to promote animal welfare,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to stand with Rep. Quigley to introduce legislation which will protect big cat wildlife species.”

“There is a big cat crisis in the United States,” said Cathy Liss, president of Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). “There are thousands in captivity, and we don’t even know where they are. Private individuals keep big cats as ‘pets,’ where they languish in grossly inadequate conditions and pose a severe risk to the surrounding community, including law enforcement. The Big Cat Public Safety Act is a smart solution to a dangerous and cruel situation.”

Across the country, thousands of big cats like tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas are kept in miserable, insecure, and unsafe conditions by irresponsible owners. The Big Cat Public Safety Act works to address this issue by barring the private ownership of these animals and prohibiting exhibitors from allowing public contact with cubs, which aims to help correct the mistreatment of wild animals and limit the danger posed to members of the public, including law enforcement officers who respond to escapes and attacks.

The bill has a list of over fifty bipartisan cosponsors, including Reps. Rooney (FL-17) and Blumenauer (OR-03).

As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), Rep. Quigley is a leading advocate for wildlife. Most recently, he reintroduced the Bird-Safe Buildings Act, which seeks to prevent birds from colliding with glass buildings. Based on his legislative action on behalf of animals and wildlife, Rep. Quigley received a 100+ rating on the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s annual scorecard, the highest ranking for a Member from Illinois.

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