Sen. Susan Collins speaks at the ceremonial grand opening of the new Bangor Area Transit Center in Pickering Square on Friday. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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Maybe people have seen them? Photos of tiger cubs held by kids, taken at shady outfits to make a buck at the expense of animals and of public safety. But Americans have increasingly come to understand that “cub petting” attractions like this are harmful to all involved — cruel for the cubs, and potentially dangerous for the people. To make things worse, these operations churn out older big cats who too often end up loosely confined to neighborhood backyards and garages only to break free, generating still greater public safety and animal welfare concerns.

Fortunately, Maine bans all of these scenarios, and the nation will soon follow the state’s example. Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263. This is a great victory for big cats and a long time in the making. The bill prohibits public contact with big cats and keeping these species as pets. Sen. Susan Collins was the co-lead of the Senate bill, S. 1210, along with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and we could not have gotten to this moment without her skilled leadership. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. We urge President Joe Biden to expeditiously sign the bill into law to protect the public and promote animal welfare.

Sara Amundson

President

Humane Society Legislative Fund

Washington, D.C.