A new documentary exposes ‘ambassador animals’ on TV and uncovers the secret of what happens to big cats after their TV fame days.

Source: Cargo Film & Releasing/YouTube

The Conservation Game is a new documentary presented by The Passionate Eye and tells the story of Tim Harrison, a retired cop and now director of the non-profit Outreach for Animals. Harrison makes a ‘bombshell discovery while undercover at an exotic animal auction. Harrison unveils where these animals come from and what happens to them “when the cameras turn off.”

The documentary follows Harrison as he suspects that America’s top television celebrity conservationists may be secretly connected to the exploitative exotic pet trade.

According to the documentary, there are now more tigers living in captivity in the United States than there are wild tigers in their native ranges. The exotic animal market is a multimillion-dollar business that runs thanks to fake sanctuaries, roadside zoos, and private menageries that have little to no federal oversight.

In the documentary, Harrison investigates into the secret world of the big cat trade. He and his team take their fight to the U.S. Congress and urge lawmakers to pass federal legislation that would end the private breeding and exploitation of these animals.

During the documentary, Harrison, as well as animal welfare advocate and researcher Jeff Kremer tracks down ambassador cats that were once used in television shows but are now nowhere to be found.

Thankfully in July 2022, the U.S. Congress passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, a bill that Harrison fought for in the documentary. The law would prohibit the ownership of tigers, lions, and other big cats as pets. It also outlaws direct public contact with animals.

These big cats are often kept as prisoners for profit at roadside zoos, where they are exploited and forced into activities like cub petting. They’re frequently declawed and have their teeth dulled so that they can be forced into interactions with customers, even though declawing has been prohibited by the USDA since 2005. Adult big cats kept as pets are known to suffer psychologically as a result of being housed in small, confined areas. Cubs used for petting and photo ops are often taken from their mothers at an early age and also suffer psychologically as a result.

For years the government has failed to help big cats and enact legislation needed to stop the suffering of these animals. This bill is a step in the right direction, and we hope that it will become law. ADI has created a system to make it easier to contact senators to help make this law. Check out their website to get phone numbers, talking points, and email templates, and let’s get this passed in Senate!

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