Congress Passes Tiger King Bill Thanks To Hit Netflix Show

By Michileen Martin | Published

tiger king season 2

A new bill that is expected to become law will make most of what we saw in Season 1 of Netflix‘s pandemic hit Tiger King illegal. The Big Cat Public Safety Act passed through the U.S. Senate without a single dissenting vote and President Joe Biden, who previously expressed his support for the bill, is expected to sign it into law. Once made the law of the land, the Act will severely restrict the ownership of big cats like tigers, with the ultimate goal of making private big cat owners like Joe Exotic a thing of the past.

The Hill reports that the Tiger King-inspired Act will restrict ownership of big cats mostly to “wildlife sanctuaries, state universities and certified zoos.” The public’s physical contact with the animals will not be allowed–with mandatory distance and/or physical barriers mandated for those big cats on display–and only certified zoo or animal exhibitors will be allowed to breed the cats.

Those private citizens who are already in possession of big cats will be allowed to keep them, but only under a number of conditions aimed to ultimately phase out private ownership of the animals altogether and make what we saw in Tiger King impossible. The owners will need to register their cats with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They also are prohibited from breeding the big cats, acquiring any more cats, or selling the ones they have.

Carole Baskin–the same activist the so-called Tiger King Joe Exotic was convicted of attempting to have murdered–is the most famous voice to back the bill, having made a number of trips to Washington D.C. to get the law passed. Baskin is an animal rights activist who began a feud with Exotic in 2009 after she succeeded in convincing different venues of canceling his cub-petting events. The public feud culminated in Exotic being convicted of attempting to have Baskin killed and slammed with a 22 year prison sentence, which was eventually reduced to 21 years.

tiger king
Carole Baskin in Tiger King

Tiger King managed to make Carole Baskin a celebrity, in spite of also convincing many viewers–per Joe Exotic’s urgings–that the activist is guilty of murdering her second husband, Don Lewis. Along with turning up the volume on her voice in activist circles, her newfound notoriety landed her a spot on Dancing with the Stars.

Regardless, Baskin hasn’t seemed particularly happy with her involvement in Netflix’s Tiger King. Both Carole and her husband Howard have alleged that the makers of the show were dishonest with them; claiming they were told they were making a documentary about the ill treatment big cats received in cub-petting situations.

Baskin unsuccessfully sued to stop Netflix from streaming Tiger King Season 2. When she refused to participate in the production of the new season, footage filmed for Season 1 was used, which Baskin claimed put the show in breach of contract.