Current law prohibits the import, export, purchase, sale, transport, and acquisition of big cats, such as lions and tigers, across state lines or the national border. H.R. 1380 would prohibit the breeding and possession of those animals, although wildlife sanctuaries, veterinarians, colleges and universities, zoos, exhibitions, and other entities that meet certain requirements would be exempt. In addition, people who already own such animals would be permitted to keep them if they register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
H.R. 1380 would direct USFWS to issue regulations to implement the prohibition on breeding and possession. In addition, CBO expects that under the bill, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would revise existing regulations on the licensing of entities that possess, exhibit, and breed big cats. Based on the costs of similar tasks, CBO estimates that developing those regulations would cost $1 million in 2020.
Many states already prohibit ownership of the affected species and CBO expects that people who currently own such animals would register with USFWS. Thus, violations under the bill would probably occur infrequently. On that basis, CBO estimates that USFWS would incur costs of less than $500,000 annually after 2020 to maintain the registry and conduct enforcement. In total, we estimate that implementing H.R. 1380 would cost $3 million over the 2020-2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.