Prohibit the Domestication of Big Cats

White Lion

Target: President Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Goal: Outlaw the use of big cats as pets.

A recent trend in the United Arab Emirates has wealthy individuals keeping big cats like lions, tigers and cheetahs as pets. According to a report by Channel NewsAsia, the exotic animals “have become the ultimate status symbol” in the Persian Gulf. Owners routinely post pictures of their pets on various social media outlets as a means of elevating their social standing and obtaining a degree of celebrity.

The keeping of big cats as pets is unethical and inhumane for a number of reasons. First, it necessarily robs them of their natural instincts and behaviors. Because these cats are torn from their mothers as juveniles and brought up among humans in a foreign environment, they do not learn the basic skills needed for their survival. For instance, they do not learn to hunt.

As a result, when owners decide that they no longer want to care for the animals, which happens more often than not, the animals cannot be reintroduced into their natural living environment. They have become reliant on human beings for their survival and are thus only fit to live in captivity. Zoos in the United Arab Emirates are becoming overcrowded with these unwanted animals.

Furthermore, most of the big cats that are kept as pets are smuggled into the country illegally. Animal smuggling is a profitable enterprise; Channel NewsAsia reports that big cats can go for as much as $50,000.

Many big cat species are in danger of becoming extinct. Kidnapping them from the wild and raising them as pets contributes significantly to the problem. In spite of this, it is actually legal for people to purchase big cats in the United Arab Emirates. Owning a white lion, for example, is not against the law. This must be addressed immediately. Please help give a voice to big cats by signing the below petition urging the president of the United Arab Emirates to ban the exploitation of these beautiful and endangered animals as pets.

PETITION LETTER:

President Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,

The keeping of big cats, such as lions, tigers and cheetahs, as pets is unethical and inhumane. Most of these animals are bred in captivity and torn from their mothers as cubs. Raising them in a domestic setting suppresses their natural instincts and renders them incapable of surviving without human care.

Unsurprisingly, most owners of big cats eventually become either tired or afraid of these animals. However, because they have not learned the essential skills needed for their independent survival, the animals cannot be released into the wild where they belong. They must therefore spend their entire lives in captivity—a cruel and unnatural fate.

To make matters worse, many of these animals are endangered. Taking them from the wild and raising them as pets brings them closer to extinction. Please consider passing a law that prohibits the private ownership of big cats in your country.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Stano Novak

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