Target: President Obama
Goal: Demand government regulation of tiger ownership to prevent them from being kept as pets
Sadly, the majority of tigers in the United States are being forced into a life of captivity as pets. The government currently does not regulate tiger ownership, which provides more opportunity for Americans to attempt to keep these dangerous wild animals as pets.
There are approximately 5,000 captive tigers in the United States and almost all of them are privately owned, according to World Wildlife Fund. Shockingly, there is currently no government-mandated system in place that would track the number of tigers in the country or where they are located. The lack of government regulation makes it much easier for individuals to choose to keep tigers as pets, which puts themselves and the animals in danger.
Tigers are wild animals and can never truly be tamed. Putting a tiger in a captive situation where it is forced to constantly suppress its natural instincts to hunt or protect itself is cruel and extremely dangerous. Wild animals can act on these instincts without warning and attack someone, which will usually ultimately result in the tiger being killed. Further, if tigers must be kept in captivity, they deserve a life only zoos or other accredited institutions can provide: a natural environment where they can roam freely within a properly sized enclosure.
Allowing captive tigers to be kept as pets also fuels wildlife trafficking and the illegal trade in tiger “parts”. Urge President Obama to require anyone with a license to exhibit, breed, or sell tigers to submit reports detailing all births, deaths, transfers, and sales and remove an exemption for “generic” tigers in the Captive-Bred Wildlife registration system.
Dear President Obama,
I am extremely concerned about recent studies indicating that the majority of captive tigers in the United States are privately owned and kept as pets. Not only is this an injustice to these beautiful creatures, but it is also a significant public safety risk.
The current lack of government regulation of tiger births, deaths, sales, and transfers provides ample opportunity for individuals to obtain tigers to keep as pets. Wild animals like tigers can never truly be tamed, and should not co-exist with or be handled by humans in a domestic setting. They can act on their natural instincts at any moment and attack their owner or anyone else with whom they are allowed to come in contact. Further, tigers not kept in proper enclosures are at risk of escaping and threatening public safety. Only zoos and accredited institutions should be allowed the responsibility of tiger ownership, and only they can truly provide the most natural environment possible in captivity. Wildlife trafficking and the illegal trade in tiger parts are also fueled by the practice of keeping captive tigers as pets.
I urge you to see that the U.S. Department of Agriculture begins monitoring the number and location of captive tigers by requiring that anyone with a license to exhibit, breed, or sell tigers submit annual reports detailing tiger births, deaths, transfers, and sales. In addition, I ask that you oversee the removal of an exemption for “generic” tigers in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Captive-Bred Wildlife registration system.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hafiz Issadeen via Wikimedia Commons