Monday, 18 August 2014

NEWSLINK: New York’s big cat handling ban awaits Governor Cuomo's signature

No law currently exists in New York that prevents big cats kept in private exhibits from direct contact with humans. Their handlers often forget that these big cats are wild, and many have caused serious injuries to humans, not to mention the negative welfare implications for the cats. New York State is on the verge of enacting a law that will prohibit direct contact between people and big cats—a practice that is dangerous to both the public and the animals. Afterpassing both houses of the New York State legislature earlier this year, A.9004/S.6903 was sent to Governor Cuomo on Friday.

By signing this important measure into law, the Governor will send a powerful message to New Yorkers and to the country as a whole: it is time to place the safety and welfare of many before the profits of a few by bringing an end to big cat handling.

New York law already prohibits the possession of big cats as pets but, like most states, does not yet preclude exhibitors from allowing customers to interact with these dangerous animals without any protective barrier to prevent the animals from harming them. Big cat exhibitors assure visitors that the animals, though large, are harmless and well-suited to contact with humans.

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