Via The Independent
In New York, it now is officially illegal to have any direct contact between people and big cats.
N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo this week signed into law S. 6903 Prohibits Public Contact with Big Cats. N.Y. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, an animal activist, and Senator Tony Avella introduced the bill in July. Anyone caught with big cats will be fined $500 the first time around, and no more than $1,000 the second or more offenses. Read the big cat selfie ban bill here.
The public really shouldn’t engage with big cats or exotic animals for commercial reasons, like petting and personal photos. Young big cats are easier to take care of than when they’re adults, so they separate them from their mother to have “tame” cat for people to interact with. This painful, inhumane practice is often followed by physical and psychological problems in the cubs. Sometimes, even death has occurred. Sadly, when the cub grows up enough to be too rough to play or photographed with, they sometimes end up by the wayside in terrible housing, if you can call it that.
Born Free USA, a group who supported the bill, stated: “This process feeds a vicious cycle of breeding, repeatedly exploiting and then dumping animals, which fuels the exotic pet trade. Many big cats end up being warehoused at shoddy roadside zoos, at pseudo-sanctuaries, or in the hands of other unqualified individuals. Wild animals belong in the wild.
“This new law creates commonsense restrictions that are long overdue. New York is setting an outstanding example, and I hope other states will follow. Born Free USA is part of a group that has petitioned the USDA to enact these rules this nationwide, and we will use this law as a precedent to continue fighting for that change.”