Grass Valley man advocates for big cats
On Nov. 17, Mike Brazil traveled from Grass Valley to Washington, D.C., in partnership with The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary of Tampa, Fla. The purpose of Brazil’s trip was to meet with the staffs of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Doug LaMalfa to rally support for the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (S.1381/H.R. 1998). The federal bill is aimed at banning the private possession and breeding of captive big cats in all 50 states.
Brazil joined other supporters from across the country to meet with a total of 18 Congressional offices, including bill sponsors Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Buck McKeon (R-CA), to discuss the much-needed reform. Throughout the U.S., there are thought to be upwards of 10,000 captive big cats living in rural and urban locations. It is known that in the past two decades, reported incidents involving captive big cats have resulted in the deaths of 24 people — five of them children — and at least 200 maulings. In many cases, escaped animals have been shot and killed, often by first responders who are not prepared to handle a confrontation with a powerful lion, cheetah or tiger.
Speaking to his Congressional members, Brazil said, “I’ve always been enthralled and amazed by the beauty, grace, and power of tigers, lions, leopards, and other big-cat species. Allowing them to be confined in small cages in squalid conditions as pets or as attractions for roadside businesses and traveling zoos/circuses is an affront to their dignity and to our humanity. These practices also create situations that threaten the safety of the public and put local first responders at risk when these dangerous animals escape or are turned loose by their owners. The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act is a win-win: it aids and protects the big cats and protects humans as well.”
To learn more about the Big Cats and Public Safety Act, go to: http://www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates.
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