It is estimated that the global illicit trade in wildlife may be worth as much as $20,000,000,000 annually.
HR 4122: The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act , introduced in the House of Representatives in March, would establish civil and criminal penalties along with forfeiture requirements for those illegally trading big cats such as lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs.
Here is a summary of the Act from the Library of Congress:
“Amends the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to prohibit any person from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, purchasing, breeding, possessing, or owning any prohibited wildlife species (current law prohibits importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing such a species in interstate or foreign commerce). Includes among exemptions to such prohibition the: (1) breeding of such species by authorized persons; and (2) transportation, possession, or ownership of such species by authorized persons.
Defines “breeding” as facilitating the reproduction of prohibited wildlife species (any live species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species) for commercial use.
Removes from the list of persons authorized to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, breed, possess, own, or purchase such species a person that is licensed or registered, and inspected, by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or any other federal agency with respect to such species. Includes in such list: (1) a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; (2) a wildlife sanctuary that cares for such species, is a tax exempt corporation, does not commercially trade in or propagate such species, does not allow direct contact between the public and animals, and does not allow the transport and display of such species off-site; and (3) a person that is in possession of animals of such species that were born before the date of this Act’s enactment and that are registered with APHIS within six months after such regulations are promulgated.
Establishes civil and criminal penalties and forfeiture requirements for violations of this Act.”
This bill is currently in the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, referred on 3/9/12, with no further movement thusfar. In reviewing the Congressional calendar, the House has approximately seven more weeks in session this year.
Please contact your Representative and ask for some action on this bill to move it forward before the year is done.