Politics: Biden backs 'Tiger King's' Carole Baskin's 'Big Cat Public Safety Act,' a bipartisan effort to limit exotic animal ownership

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President Joe Biden and © Getty Images President Joe Biden and "Tiger King" star Carole Baskin Getty Images
  • The White House announced Biden is backing legislation pushed by Carole Baskin.
  • Baskin and other animal welfare advocates support the bipartisan "Big Cat Public Safety Act."
  • The legislation previously passed the House in 2020 before dying in the Senate.

The White House announced on Tuesday that it formally supports a bipartisan bill aimed at limiting exotic animal ownership that has long been pushed by Carole Baskin of "Tiger King" fame.

"The Administration supports H.R. 263, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would build on existing laws that protect big cats like tigers, cheetahs, jaguars, and other wild animals living in captivity in the United States," The Office of Management and Budget said in a formal statement of administration policy.

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Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, have led the latest efforts to get the legislation passed. They have teamed up with Republicans, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to get the legislation passed in a closely divided Congress.

The House Rules Committee met to consider the bill on Tuesday, a likely step before a full House floor vote. The House passed a similar measure in 2020 by a commanding 272-114 vote but it later died in the Senate.

The legislation would revise the current law that governs the trade of big cats, such as lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguars. The bill would outlaw the type of cub petting business that was highlighted during portions of Netflix's hit "Tiger King," which focused on the battle between exotic zoo operators like Joe Exotic Bhagavan Mahamayavi "Doc" Antle and organizations like Baskin's Big Cat Rescue. Cub petting is when zoos allow people to pay for up-close encounters with tiger and similar exotic cubs, a practice strongly opposed by animal welfare advocates.

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Antle was charged earlier this summer with federal money laundering earlier this summer. Prosecutors claimed that he laundered more than $500,00o, the apparent proceeds of a human smuggling operation, the Associated Press previously reported. Antle operates a wildlife safari near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Exotic and his supporters failed to get then-President Donald Trump to pardon him.

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