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Joaquin Phoenix and More Celebs Petition U.S. Congress to Protect Big Cats Following “Tiger King” Series

Joaquin Phoenix

Photo: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Hollywood star and animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix is among dozens of celebrities who’ve signed a petition urging the U.S. government to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

If you’ve been bingeing on hit Netflix series Tiger King, you’ll know exactly what this is – it’s the law big cat activist Carole Baskin has been trying to push through.

Carole Baskin in Netflix series Tiger King.

Carole Baskin in the Netflix series Tiger King (Photo: Netflix)

If you haven’t been watching the series, the proposed bill “prohibits the private ownership of big cats, direct public contact and dangerous public interactions with big cats such as cub petting.”

The open letter, signed by Phoenix and organised by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), clearly explains why big cats need protection:

“Private owners and operations that breed tigers forcefully separate newborn cubs from their mothers – sometimes within minutes of birth – to use them in expensive photo opportunities with tourists. Because cubs can only be ‘handled’ for a few months, drugging tigers to be compliant and docile is commonplace. When they get too old and their existence is no longer profitable, they are often irresponsibly sold into the pet trade or killed.”


The petition also explains how people’s lives are put at risk when big cats are kept in private homes:

“Keeping big cats in captivity in private homes or small cages creates an enormous public safety threat should these animals ever get loose.”

Rooney Mara, Glenn Close, Olivia Wilde, Ian Somerhalder, Justin Theroux and Mena Suvari have also signed the petition.

It was drafted by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of the 2013 documentary Blackfish which highlighted the mistreatment of killer whales at Sea World and forced the company to update some of its animal handling practices.

You can learn more about the petition HERE.



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