ACCORDING TO THE HILL’S Kevin Bogardus, the latest lobbying battle is centered around cats. Big cats. Bogardus reports that
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other groups are throwing their weight behind the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, which would ban keeping the animals as pets or breeding them for sale.
Public disclosure records reveal that the IFAW hasn’t been throwing much weight behind anything since the mid-90′s, when in 1996 alone it raised half a million dollars and spent, if you’ll pardon the pun, the lion’s share. The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act may reverse that trend, bringing IFAW back to the vanguard of animal rights lobbying.
But despite the involvement of animal rights groups, advocates are emphasizing public safety as the measure’s central cause.* The implication is that this approach will enhance the visibility (and ultimately the palatability) of the proposed legislation. The name of the bill is itself a testament to this, in which the bulk of its syllabic frame is occupied by the public safety bit, with “Big Cats” being dispensed with up front and early. Also, there’s no allusion to animal welfare in this designation.
How else is the message being pushed? Metro ads. To LobbyBlog’s readers on K St.: look for images of caged lions and tigers the next time you board at Farragut.
*IFAW says that “in just the past two decades, dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in the U.S. have resulted in the deaths of 22 people (including 5 children); and over 200 additional humans have been mauled or injured.”