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Federal Exotic Pets Bill

Update -- December 19, 2003

President Bush signed legislation that outlaws selling and shipping lions, tigers and other big cats across state lines without the proper permit or accreditation.

The measure was aimed at improving control over the exotic pet trade. It exempts legitimate sanctuaries and federally licensed zoos, circuses and animal trainers. Congress passed the legislation last month.

Regulations covering exotic animals vary from state to state and, in some cases, county to county.

From The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals: ,
March 6, 2003:

The federal Exotic Pets bill (introduced earlier this year in the U.S. Senate as S. 269) has now been introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 1006. The legislation, introduced by Reps. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and George Miller (D-CA), seeks to ban the interstate shipment of large wild cats, such as lions and tigers, for the exotic pet trade.

The unrestricted, interstate trafficking of big cats in the U.S. has fueled the exotic pet industry to the point where there are an estimated 5,000 tigers kept in private hands in the U.S. ­ probably more than the entire worldıs wild tiger population. Nowadays, tiger cubs can be purchased, on a whim, off Internet sites for as little as $500. They often end up horribly neglected, and sometimes are simply let loose when their owners grow tired of the novelty. The Exotic Pets bill would help put the brakes on this currently out-of-control industry.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact your federal legislators and ask them to support the Exotic Pets Bill. Ask your two U.S. Senators to cosponsor S. 269, and ask your U.S. Representative to cosponsor H.R. 1006.

All legislators can be reached by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202 224-3121. If you need help identifying the names of your federal legislators, call The HSUS at (202) 955-3666 or look them up online at