The tiger’s wide awake

So if you want a picture of yourself with the big cat in New York state, you’d better get it now:

[Yesterday,] the governor of New York State signed a bill banning the practice of paying to have your photo taken with a large cat. Yes, this will be commonly referred to as the “tiger selfie” ban.

As radio station WPDH in Poughkeepsie points out, businesses that let you pet and take a photo with tigers and other exotic animals have been popular attractions at county fairs, including the nearby Dutchess County Fair, in years past. You get a sticker that says “I touched a tiger,” and a photo perfect for your online dating profiles. Starting in 2015, exchanging money for tiger photos will now be illegal in New York state.

Governor Cuomo, you may be sure, is not overly concerned with your safety here:

Wildlife advocates say the trend is not only hazardous to humans but encourages mistreatment of endangered animals. The big cats are often taken from their mothers as cubs, poorly cared for and then neglected or discarded when they grow up.

“They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can’t use them they breed more,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa, Florida sanctuary that has more than 100 big cats.

Similar laws exist in Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi.

(Source of the title, in case you were wondering.)

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