The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would limit the possession of big cats to wildlife sanctuaries, state universities, and certified zoos, The Hill reported.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which gained prominence after Netflix's hit series "Tiger King," received unanimous consent from the upper chamber after passing the House 278-134 in July.
President Joe Biden already signaled his support for the legislation over the summer, after Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin reportedly visited Capitol Hill.
Baskin had been a star of the documentary, which chronicled her battle against animal park owner Joe Exotic.
According to the bill, current owners of big cats will be able to keep the animals as long as they do not breed, acquire, or sell them. The cats will also be prohibited from the public and required to register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and James Lankford, R-Okla., lifted their hold on the bill in the Senate, clearing the way for Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, to push the legislation through.
"We applaud Sens. Blumenthal and Collins for their tireless work to secure the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which will keep families in suburbia safe from dangerous tigers and lions," said Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby.
"After a decade of legislative work on the bill and tremendous publicity for the issue, cub petting will soon become a thing of the past in the U.S.," Irby added.
The Hill noted the bill received support not only from animal rights activists, but also the National Sheriffs' Association, which cited fears over local law enforcement's readiness to handle the big cats when necessary.
"The final nail’s about to hit the coffin of the extremely cruel big-cat cub-petting industry, which PETA lawsuits nearly annihilated by taking down the biggest players, such as the 'Tiger Kings,' and establishing that it's illegal to separate big-cat cubs from their mothers prematurely and let the public pet them," PETA's Brittany Peet told Newsmax. "PETA will be watching closely to ensure that federal authorities enforce the new law and stop wannabe 'Tiger Kings' from resurrecting this abusive industry."
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