In a New York minute, everything can change. And for big cats, things have certainly changed for the better. Gov. Andrew Cuomo just signed into law a bill that bans circuses, fairs, and any other animal exhibitors from letting patrons pose for pictures or engage in direct contact with lions, tigers, and other big cats in the state.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal sponsored the bill to help protect humans from attacks and to protect the animals from being further exploited.
And the law should do exactly that. These wild cats are typically taken away from their families as babies and denied everything that is natural and important to them, all so that a succession of strangers can manhandle them for photo opportunities. When the animals grow too big to be held, they are caged for life in decrepit roadside zoos, shipped to canned hunting ranches to be gunned down, slaughtered for “exotic meat,” or sold to be kept as neglected and dangerous “exotic pets.”
“It is hard to believe it is not already illegal,” Rosenthal said. PETA will encourage all other states to follow New York’s lead and protect people and big cats from the exhibitors who aim to endanger them both.