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No more macho profile shots with big cats: NY outlaws 'tiger selfies'

Those who want to have their photo taken with a tiger, lion or other big cat to impress the online dating scene with their machismo will have to do it outside of the state of New York. reported Tuesday that New York has outlawed the practice in order to protect both the animals and the people involved. These photos with big cats are common at traveling animal exhibitions.

Mulan Jamilah is a 6-year-old Bengal tiger in Malang, Indonesia.
Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

The cubs are often taken away from their mothers entirely too early in order to be used in these photo shoots, and this is cruel to mother and cub. The conditions in which they are kept are usually not acceptable, either. There is a significant danger to those who choose to pose with these wild animals, too. In 2005, a teen girl was killed while posing for her senior pictures with a lion in another state.

ABC News reports that the bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo prohibits any contact between the big cats and the public at traveling animal shows and fairs. Fines will be levied against the exhibitors for each and every violation of this new law. Many states already had laws in place to prevent this practice.

There is a trend among young men to take these photos to use on online dating sites to attract women. With the current popularity of cute puppy and kitty photos, perhaps that would a possibility for those seeking to draw attention to their profile page. There are so many puppy and kitten photos on social media that it is almost obnoxious at times! Maybe the new trend will be for young men to show the “softer and gentler” side of their personality with a chubby little Labrador pup or a tiny Siamese cat.

During the 1980s, these big cat photos were commonly available in shopping malls where animal exhibitions and petting zoos were very popular. The experience of posing with a lion cub was unforgettable. The wild rumbling “purr” you could feel as you held it on your lap was indescribable. This writer vividly remembers this teenage experience, likely very dangerous, as one of life’s more exciting moments.

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