Roadside cub petting is not so adorable: Big Cat Rescue launches PSA campaign to end cub petting at roadside zoo

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The public is misled by cub petting exploiters into thinking that petting cubs somehow supports conservation.

Tampa, Florida (—Bit Cat Rescue has launched a public service advertising campaign to help end cub petting at roadside zoos and exhibits.

Thousands of big cats live in captivity in inhumane conditions in back yards and in roadside zoos in America where they are exploited.

Big cats (lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, etc.) are built to roam large territories running and are highly intelligent. In the wild, they would continuously receive mental and physical stimulation.

In contrast, captive big cats live in tiny, barren cages with concrete floors that are easy to clean but cause arthritis.

Laws and regulations that are supposed to insure humane treatment are often unenforceable.

The single biggest cause of this misery, according to Big Cat Rescue, is the roadside zoos that offer cub petting and photo ops with cubs. Cubs are taken from their mothers at birth, a torment to any mammal mother and offspring. They are often deprived of sleep and food to make them hungry and easily distracted with a bottle at petting sessions. Because of the filthy conditions, they often have contagious ringworm.

Cubs can only be used for a few months before they become dangerous and there is no tracking of what happens to them after they are too big to pet. It is unknown how many die or how many may be slaughtered for the illegal trade in their parts.

The public is misled by cub petting exploiters into thinking that petting cubs somehow supports conservation and that when the cubs are too big to pet they live idyllic lives in sanctuaries. In fact the opposite is true.

As can be seen in the above video, the concept behind this spot was to turn cub petting on its side and reveal the “real truth” about it; the truth that it is not so adorable and that it contributes to a vicious life cycle (behind the scenes) that often ends very badly for these tiger cubs.

Viewers are also encouraged to go to and learn more about what really happens to these cubs.

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries devoted to big cats. In addition to providing the best life they can for the cats in their care, Big Cat Rescue is a leader in working to stop the mistreatment of these majestic animals. A significant part of that effort is to educate the public about the evils of cub petting so they will not patronize these exploitive exhibitors. More information about Big Cat Rescue is available at

You can also check out a second PSA below:

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