BIG Cat public safety act

HR 211

SPONSOR: Rep. Tom McClintock

STATUS:Referred to Committee on Natural Resources 1/5/21 – Referred to Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife 2/18/21

HR 263

SPONSOR: Rep. Mike Quigley
CO-SPONSORS: 258 (as of 11/27/22)

STATUS: Signed into law

S 1210

SPONSOR: Sen. Richard Blumenthal
CO-SPONSORS: 48 (as of 11/27/21)

STATUS:Referred to Environment and Public Works 4/19/21

SPECIES AFFECTED: Prohibited Wildlife Species = lion, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, cheetah, jaguar, cougar or any hybrid of such

: All

CLASSIFICATION: Ban – Breeding and Possession

DETAILS: Bans possession and breeding of prohibited wildlife species and defines breeding as to facilitate propagation or reproduction (whether intentionally or negligently) or to fail to prevent propagation or reproduction
[S 2561]


  1. Class C Licensee or federal facility registered with the USDA that exhibits animals which is in good standing that:
    • Is in good standing
    •  Does NOT allow individual to come into direct physical contact with prohibited wildlife species unless trained professional employee or contractor of the entity or facility or employee in training, a veterinarian or directly supporting conservation programs if the contact is not commercial activity AND “incidental to humane husbandry conducted pursuant to a species-specific, publicly available, peer-edited population management and care plan” that reflects conservation science principles, “incorporates genetic and demographic analysis of a multi-institution population of animals covered by the plan”, and promotes animal welfare ensuring frequency of breeding is appropriate [NOT IN HR 211]
    • Ensures publicly exhibited lion, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, cougar and hybrids are 15’ from the public or with permanent barriers [NOT IN HR 211]   
  2. State college, university, or agency, or state-licensed veterinarian
  3. Wildlife sanctuary that cares for such animals that is:
    •  501(c)(3) nonprofit
    • Does NOT commercially trade in prohibited wildlife species including offspring, parts and byproducts
    • Does NOT breed prohibited wildlife species
    • Does NOT allow direct contact between the public and prohibited wildlife species [NOT IN HR 211]
    • Does NOT allow the transportation and display of prohibited wildlife species off-site [NOT IN HR 211]
  4. Someone who solely expeditiously transports a prohibited wildlife species to an exempted entity

GRANDFATHERING: Those grandfathered must register the animals with the US Fish & Wildlife Service within 180 days AND must not breed, acquire, or sell any new ones
AND must not allow public contact [NOT IN HR 211]

ENFORCING AGENCY: US Fish and Wildlife Service

SEIZURE & FORFEITURE: Will be governed under current seizure and forfeiture laws for illegal imports, exports, transport, sale and purchases

PENALTIES: Removes from current civil and criminal penalties and creates own criminal penalty of up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years with each violation a separate offense and declared to be committed in each district taken to

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon enactment

UAPPEAL Background on Bill:

2011-2012 Session

In March 2012, UAPPEAL contacted US Senators and set up meetings to discuss our concerns on the bill.

2013-2014 Session

In September 2014, UAPPEAL went to Washington, D.C. to meet with the sponsor and important staff members related to the big cat bill and other important bills.  During the meetings, one of the major concerns was the public contact ban with the KS tiger incident being brought up.  We clarified that the whole incident was already in violation of current federal law and answered any questions.

2015-2016 Session

During our September 15, 2015 trip to DC, we had several successful meetings with the staff of key legislators to develop relationships with them on this bill.