A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would outlaw private ownership of big cats — potentially preventing any new “Tiger King” successors from emerging.

The law, which was dubbed the “Tiger King” bill after the viral Netflix show of the same name, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday with a 272-114 vote.

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The show’s star, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a.k.a. Joe Exotic, is currently serving 22 years in prison for various wildlife crimes, as well as a murder-for-hire charge.

The bill takes explicit aim at those who would otherwise try to claim the vacant throne, beltway publication Roll Call reports.

“We’re bringing the #BigCatPublicSafetyAct to end these practices up for a vote, and I’m glad to have helped move it forward through our committee,” tweeted Democrat Jared Huffman, who was featured in “Tiger King.”

Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue.

Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue.
(Netflix)

The law was first brought to the Natural Resources Committee in September 2019, six months before Netflix debuted its documentary on the exploits of Maldonado-Passage.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act — the bill’s official title — would effectively ban the breeding and ownership of a big cat without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The bill drew criticism from Republicans saying that it would hurt small, family-run operations.

“This bill, contrary to what I’ve been hearing so far, is not about protecting the public from big cats,” Utah Rep. Rob Bishop said during the brief floor debate.

“It is about hurting small, family-run zoos across the country. It is a power play of some kind.”

Other House Republicans said the bill is an attempt by House Democrats to ignore the ongoing suffering of small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Another week in Congress, another week of @SpeakerPelosi delaying relief to American small businesses and workers. What’s on the agenda instead? Marijuana legalization and the “Tiger King” bill,” tweeted Minnesota Republican Jim Hagedorn.

Carole Baskin, a long-time rival of Joe Exotic who runs a big cat sanctuary in Florida, touted her involvement with the bill in a post on her website, writing that her current husband was on weekly calls with members of the coalition.

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“We have a majority, with over 230 co-sponsors, but need a 2/3rds vote to pass under suspension,” she wrote.

“We are rallying the tens of millions of supporters of our collective organizations to contact their members of Congress.”

Baskin is currently dealing with the fallout of an attack at her facility: One of her volunteers was bitten by a big cat on Thursday.





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