Victory for wildlife in New York!
We commend the New York State Assembly for passing a bill banning direct contact between people and large wildcats.
The new law, which takes effect on February 7, 2015, bans direct physical interaction between people and big cats, including tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, and mountain lions. The bill includes a ban on the taking of photos of people and the big cats without a permanent physical barrier between them. Selfies with wildlife, a growing trend, pose a significant public safety risk.
Through our Before They Book campaign, we’ve been shining a spotlight on the suffering of captive wild animals in entertainment. Many people are not aware that a ‘once in a lifetime’ selfie with a captive tiger means a lifetime of suffering for that animal. To be used for photo opportunities, tigers and other big cats are snatched from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity. Tigers will also have their canine teeth and claws removed to make them “safe” to handle – a process that causes them great pain.
Wild animals belong in the wild and when used for entertainment, their behaviour can be highly unpredictable. Tourists around the world have been mauled or attacked when posing with wild animals.
“New York’s new law is a vital measure that will protect animals and people,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns for World Animal Protection Australia. “Wild animals belong in the wild, and we applaud the New York State Assembly for passing this tremendously positive measure. We hope to see similar measures enacted in Australia in the near future."
New York State Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), who was the prime sponsor of the law, said, "I am so pleased that my law to ban direct contact between wild cats and members of the public is taking effect. Wild animals, despite how adorable they may appear when cubs, are still wild animals, and pose a real danger to the public.
"In addition to that risk, the wild cats live in deplorable conditions and are treated cruelly for the duration of their lives. The worldwide and overwhelmingly positive response has made clear that this is an idea whose time has come. This law will go a long way to improving the conditions of captive big cats statewide, and I would encourage other states to follow New York's lead."
Let's say 'Thank You'
Join us in celebrating this good news by saying ‘Thank You’ to New York state on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #NYBigCats15.
Animal entertainment is animal abuse. Visit our Before They Book campaign site to learn more and find out how you can help.