Part of the Bay Area News Group


By Gary Bogue
Friday, August 17th, 2007 at 7:46 am in Animal protection legislation.

Thursday, after a mysterious delay of almost four years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FINALLY finalized its long-awaited regulations to implement the Captive Wildlife Safety Act which Congress passed unanimously AND President Bush signed into law waaay back in late 2003.

This law prohibits interstate commerce in lions, tigers and other big cats AS PETS.


This morning, The Humane Society of the United States sent me the following update on the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which saves me a whole LOT of personal research to pull all this stuff together for you to read. Thank you, HSUS!

The HSUS says:
“Lions and tigers kept as pets in our communities are time bombs waiting to explode,” said Michael Markarian, HSUS executive vice president. “People get these animals as cubs and then are not equipped to care for them as they grow larger, but there is no place for them to go. It’s time the government cracked down on this dangerous and inhumane trade.”

Ten people have been killed by captive big cats in the United States since 2001, and many more have been injured. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 big cats are kept in private hands in the United States, and they are readily available at exotic animal auctions and over the Internet.

The new federal rule complements the laws many states have enacted to prohibit private possession of big cats as pets. It targets the pet trade and has no impact on federally licensed facilities such as zoos. It also exempts legitimate wildlife sanctuaries, but does not exempt pseudo-sanctuaries that breed or trade the animals.

“Not only are these animals incredibly dangerous when held privately, but they hold no conservation value in backyards and basements,” noted Adam Roberts, vice president of Born Free USA. “We live in a world where lions in Africa and tigers in India are facing a downward spiral toward extinction. Our national efforts must be devoted toward saving these species in the wild.”

Similar legislation is under consideration by the U.S. Congress to protect monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates. The Captive Primate Safety Act was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and David Vitter (R-La.) in the Senate (S. 1498) and Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) in the House (H.R. 2964). The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the bill unanimously on July 31, and it now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Timeline for the Captive Wildlife Safety Act:
September 17, 2007 — Captive Wildlife Safety Act becomes effective
August 16, 2007 — Final regulations published in the Federal Register
January 31, 2006 — Regulations proposed for 30-day comment period
December 19, 2003 — Captive Wildlife Safety Act signed into law

You’ll find more interesting stuff about what’s happening with animals at

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5 Responses to “NO MORE LIONS & TIGERS, OH MY!”

  1. Zuzana Kukol Says:

    Cruel Law Prohibiting Owners of Exotic Cats to Take Their Pet with Them When Moving to Another State will be Effective on September 17, 2007.
    by Zuzana Kukol,

    Las Vegas, NV, August 16, 2007—The extreme animal rights (AR) propaganda driven Captive Wildlife Safety Act (CWSA) was originally signed into the law by President Bush in 2003. The Fish and Wildlife agency which is responsible for implementing it just released their regulations today in The Federal Register, and the law is supposed to take an effect on September 17, 2007.

    CWSA, from the start, was misleadingly advertised as the bill that would prohibit interstate commerce of exotic cats as pets and for public safety.

    However, when you look at the facts (something our legislators don’t know how to do), the scenario is quite different with this tax payers’ money wasting bill. The most sinister part of this bill is how it affects the non commercial activity relating to the pet big cats. To quote: “The CWSA amends the Lacey Act by making it illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, live lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, or cougars, or any hybrid combination of any of these species, unless certain exceptions are met.”

    The key word in the paragraph above is ‘transport’. What this means is that if you are a legal non commercial, aka pet owner, of an exotic cat and want to move to another exotic animal friendly state, you are forbidden to take your beloved pet with you, no matter how long you owned the pet. Your choices are limited; send it to an overcrowded sanctuary or have it euthanized.
    Taking your pet with you to move into another state is not and should never be considered a commercial activity. People should be allowed to take an animal they legally own already, there is no commerce involved. Federal government is trying to overstep their boundaries by attempting to regulate people’s freedom to take their legally acquired property (which animals are) with them to another state where the animal is legal to own. By outlawing the process of crossing the state line with exotic cat pet, our federal government is increasing the number of exotic cats in need of a new home or worse, sentencing them to death if no new home is found in time.

    Animal rights groups claim we have too many homeless exotic cats, so how is this bill going to make the situation better? Didn’t this bill just make sure there really is no place for them to go by forcing dedicated pet owners to give up their pet or never move across the state lines??? The bill also reduces the number of available homes by making it illegal for a pet owner to adopt another out of state pet owner’s exotic cat, thus reducing the number of adoptive homes.

    The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a big AR group and supporter of this bill says in their August 16, 2007 fearmongering press release:

    “”Lions and tigers kept as pets in our communities are time bombs waiting to explode,” said Michael Markarian, HSUS executive vice president. “People get these animals as cubs and then are not equipped to care for them as they grow larger, but there is no place for them to go. It’s time the government cracked down on this dangerous and inhumane trade.”

    How did this bill make this situation more humane? However, this attitude shouldn’t be surprising coming from a group that is trying hard to keep their main stream animal welfare reputation to get donations, while making money selling animal euthanasia manuals.

    HSUS is not affiliated with your local shelters and humane societies. According to Lee Nesler of the Western Pa. Humane Society: “…none of the money sent to the Humane Society of the United States ends up at your local shelter”.(

    HSUS press release continues with more half truths: “Ten people have been killed by captive big cats in the United States since 2001, and many more have been injured.” What they ‘forget to tell you is that 8 of these 10 fatalities happened at the facilities exempted from this bill; they happened to trainers and owners. That is occupational hazard they willingly accepted, but it is NOT a public hazard. What will we do next, ban firefighters because they die in a fire?

    The remaining two were the family members of the owners, but NOT unsuspecting public. Do we really need more feel good laws that bring more donations to the Humane Society of the United States, but do absolutely nothing for the general public safety?

    Since 1990, on average, one person is killed by captive big cat in USA per year, majority is owners and trainers, none of the deaths were caused by escaped exotic cats:

    According to US Fish and Wildlife Service own web site:

    “We recognize that a number of incidents involving big cat escapes and/or human injuries have been reported since December 2003. However, to our knowledge, many (if not most) of these incidents have involved owners who would be exempt under the CWSA and were not caused by, or related to, an act that would be prohibited under this law.”

    This is correct, all fatalities between January 2004 thru present occurred as a result of occupational hazard to the trainers and owners, which is facilities exempt from this regulation. So what is the real agenda behind this bill?

    When working with statistical data that deals with extremely rare occurrence, it is considered ethical and scientifically sound to include wide timeframe. For example, it would be extremely misleading to only include year 2001 in statistical analysis on how many people die on average of terrorists attack in NY city or on US soil in general, since that would mislead public into thinking that almost 3000 people die of terrorist attacks yearly in NY.

    It would be fair to include a 20 year average of the 2001 fatalities though, bringing the yearly average over last 20 years to 150 dying due terrorist attacks per year on US soil .

    HSUS press continues: “”We live in a world where lions in Africa and tigers in India are facing a downward spiral toward extinction. Our national efforts must be devoted toward saving these species in the wild.””

    Unfortunately, wild habitat is disappearing and the only way to save them is in captivity.

    If the animal rights activists truly care about animals, then why are they trying to regulate and ban these big cats captive habitat to extinction? What crime did the animals commit to be sentenced to death?

    Many AR groups rather see them extinct than saved in captivity. Who put these suit wearing, big salary paid, professional animal rights activists into a position of wildlife experts? Who made them God to decide that future generations shouldn’t see a live tiger?

    Captive primate safety act which ads primates to CWSA is now in Congress, and you can expect reptiles, birds and other species to be added on at a later time.

    Even if you don’t own exotic animals, think about it. Considering that shelters are euthanizing domestic animals because there are not enough homes to adopt them all, how would you feel if the federal government passed laws that would make it illegal for you to take your domestic dog or cat with you across the state lines, thus forcing you to keep your pet illegally or take it to a shelter where it would likely be euthanized?

  2. timbalionguy Says:

    This is a very sad day for big cats everywhere in the US. These regs will compartmentalize and decimate a significant percentage of the big cat population in the US. Along with it will go a good deal of the genetic diversity these animals need to survive. All the big cats are in serious trouble in the wild. In fact, most of them will be gone from the wild in two generations. Captive husbandry is their only hope of long-term survival.
    The so-called ‘pet owners’ have made significant contrubutions to the husbandry of these animals, replacing a lot of empty science with tender loving care. And it really works. A careful look at the statistics will show that these so-called ‘pet owners’ have a safety record significantly better than zoos, or shows using big cats. It is only a few owners who are abusive, and unfortunately make the headlines. A great deal of misinformation and outright lies were used to push this bill through. It took four years for this to get throuigh the process because even the Fish and Wildlife Service knows that this will seriously hurt a lot of good people and their cats. So restirctive are these regs, you can’t even take a sick cat to an out of state vet. Death is apparently better than crossing state lines in this case! Lastly, don’t be fooled. HSUS is not out for any animal owners’ good. They are going after the exotic people because they are relatively few in number. Primates are already in the works. Then birds, hoofstock, and finally dogs and cats. Their future for you is no meat, no fur, no hunting, no pets no zoos, no nothing to do with animals. Is this what you really want? The big cat people (And I am one of them) have their work cut out to overturn these grossly unconstitutional and immoral regs, and we will not quit until we have succeeded!

  3. Laurella Desborough Says:


    Indeed, this is a sad day for these wonderful animals. Owners who need to move from one state to another, won’t be able to take their animals. Owners who need to take an animal to a vet, cannot cross state lines to do so. Does this make sense? Only in the world of animal rights…the world where NO ONE should own, keep, or breed any animal!

    I don’t own any animals. I own birds…and I have been watching the HSUS and other animal rights organizations at work in our state and federal legislatures. They are working to restrict, control and prohibit animal ownership and breeding… Cats and dogs will be last, because there are more owners of those animals, and thus a harder job to convince the public that they should not be pets.

    When we see press releases that indicate captive breeding has saved the condors, the black footed ferrets, the peregrinne falcon, etc. and it is common knowledge that private owners own more
    exotic animals than zoos, it should be clear that the private owners are an important reservoir of genetic material for all these wonderful animals that are going extinct in the wild…and with this kind of legislation, they will also go extinct in the US…because of HOW many deaths? We have MORE deaths due to food poisoning in the US every year (5,000 by official count) and by medical errors (many thousands a year!) Using the number of deaths as an excuse to pass such anti-animal legislation is shameful and does not bode well for the future of these big cat species! SHAME on the HSUS and the other animal rights orgs!
    Shame on those who support their anti-animal agenda!!

  4. TomK Says:

    If you know so much about animals, Mr. Bogue, what makes you so mean to private owners? Did you ever bother to research the so-called information you put in your article? I don’t think you did.

  5. TomK Says:

    From me to you, Mr. Bogue

    Whatever you call yourself, whatever status you give yourself that places you, in your mind, so far above other private owners of animals, you really need to rethink what you are saying and doing. The animals that are kept by private owners are extremely valuable for conservation. Certainly you are not so shallow as to believe that just because they aren’t part of a program they have no value. You actually think of privately owned animals as junk? You can actually justify tearing them away from loving homes? It is truly horribly wrong when you use the stories of mistreatment as weapons against the vast majority of owners who actually do a good job of caring for their animals. This is why any decisions regarding ownership of animals shall be taken out of the hands of people like you, Mr. Bogue.

    There is one way that any sensible person can tell that something weird is going on. You, Mr. Bogue, have joined in bashing people for doing pretty much what you do, and your only excuse is that the others don’t do it according to some kind of “plan” handed down from up high somewhere. We didn’t have your permission to breed lions? So what? You work with, work for, and represent organizations that make a living by telling horror stories and telling everyone that ownership is evil. Do you ever take seriously the fact that the vast majority of owners have healthy and happy animals? If you ever want to really do good for animals, you will take that fact seriously, and you will learn what private ownership is about.

    Private ownership provides the best treatment for the problem of animal abuse by providing good homes for the animals. It provides the best way to prevent extinction of a species by providing thousands of places where the animals can be sheltered, fed, and bred. What we do is worth the minimal risk. One human life per year per 10,000 animals is not so harsh. Consider the fact that we live in the wild, where they used to live. Consider also the fact that privately owned animals are a lot safer for humans than what we would impose on countries like India, areas where wild animals run around loose and kill humans a lot more often.

    The HSUS does a lot of deceptive things. It has a man who has felony convictions involving arson, John Goodwin, on its staff as a vice president. The HSUS has a really bad character. Is this what you want your name associated with, Mr. Bogue? Check it out at

    If you work for the HSUS, you work for PETA and animal rights. Animal rights people say that the only good domesticated or tame animal is a dead one. They have gone to great lengths to enforce this view, including violating federal law and burning people’s buildings, cars, and homes. This is the reputation that I will hang on you. Disavowing the deeds isn’t enough. There would have to be something wrong with the basic philosophy when it leads people to do this kind of thing to other people.

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