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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 11, 2016.
Big Cat Public Safety Act of 2016
This bill amends the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to prohibit any person from breeding or possessing any live animal of any prohibited wildlife species (i.e., any live species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Breeding means facilitating propagation or reproduction (whether intentionally or negligently), or failing to prevent propagation or reproduction. The bill extends forfeiture provisions to fish, wildlife, or plants that are bred or possessed.
The bill revises the list of entities that are exempt from Lacey Act prohibitions to include:
institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; certain facilities that have an active written contract with an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan or Taxon Advisory Group for breeding prohibited wildlife species; persons who do not allow the transportation and display of prohibited wildlife species off-site; current owners of animals that were born before this bill's enactment if the animals are registered with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service within 180 days; and certain traveling circuses that hold Class C licenses under the Animal Welfare Act. Entities exempt from Lacey Act prohibitions must require that current owners and circuses not allow direct contact between the public and the prohibited wildlife species.