Biden Signs Tiger King Bill Into Law

Carole Baskin at an event in 2021.

Carole Baskin at an event in 2021.
photo: Tasos Katopodis (Getty Images)

Remember March 2020 when we were all stuck inside watching one crazy gay big cat owner fight with another crazy tiger print shelter owner? One of these cheeky characters just hit a big win in Washington.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday law signed HR 263, known as the Big Cat Public Safety Act, introduces a number of new amendments to an older law governing the wildlife trade. That legislation bans private individuals from breeding, buying and transporting big cats, requires owners to register animals they already own, effectively abolishing private ownership of big cats. The law, passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this month, also restricts public contact with six species: lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, snow leopards and jaguars.

The bill’s journey was long and strange, and was partly documented in the 2020 Netflix miniseries Tiger King. Carole Baskin, owner of a big cat sanctuary in Tampa and a Animal rights activist, was one of the main supporters of the passage of the law. In the series, Baskin was filmed traveling to Congress to campaign for big cat rights, wearing her signature animal print attire.

The Netflix show focused on the rivalry between Baskin and Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, who owned an Oklahoma animal park that Baskin claimed exploited and abused big cats. In response to Baskin’s claims about the welfare of his animals, Maldonado-Passage made claims in the documentary that Baskin fed her ex-husband’s body to the cats on her property.

The types of establishments the law will hurt the most — roadside zoos and other small, private animal parks that encourage petting Cubs – like the cats they house are critically endangered. Marty Irby, CEO of Animal Wellness Action, said E&E News that the number of these types of establishments is already much lower than when the first version of the bill was introduced more than a decade ago. Back then, Irby said, there were more than 60 cub pats across the country; The number is now in the single digits.

“Public awareness has already closed most of them, and Covid has also been influential in closing some of them,” Irby told E&E.

Cub petting and cubs are used for photo opportunities considered tThe most damaging practices to encourage big cat breeding and sales, as the babies quickly outgrow the age at which it’s safe to interact with them – and depreciate in value as they age and size. There are around 340 facilities in the country that hold licenses to breed and show big cats. These facilities must implement a 15-foot barrier between the public and the advancing cats.

At the end of the Netflix series, Maldonado-Passage was accused of hiring two men to assassinate Baskin and was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison in 2019. Since the end of the series, Baskin has appeared in both the sequel series and “dance with the stars” and has generously given to political candidates about both parties. in one Video Posted to Facebook earlier this month to celebrate the Senate passage of the bill, Baskin, who sat in front of a tiger-striped and leopard-spotted curtain, said her years of advocacy for the bill have made her the target of “narcissistic, abusive, dangerous men.” involved in the big cat trade.

“I’m thankful that I seem to be harder to intimidate and kill than some thought!” she said. Biden Signs Tiger King Bill Into Law

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