Washington, D.C. - The Captive Wildlife Safety Act, authored by U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I – Vt., and John Ensign, R- Nev., which prohibits the interstate transport of large cats like lions and tigers across state lines has been approved unanimously by the Senate and now heads to the House of Representatives before going to President Bush to be signed into law. Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said, "It is time for Congress to take a bite out of the wild cat trade. We've seen too many incidents where dangerous exotic cats have endangered public safety and been treated inhumanely. Untrained owners are not capable of meeting the needs of these wild cats." Ensign, a veterinarian, said, "It's very gratifying to see this important bill passed unanimously. We've taken a major step toward ending the practice of keeping large, dangerous animals as pets - a practice that endangers people and often leads to the mistreatment of the animals. "If tigers and lions are not free in the wild, they should only be in the hands of professionals with the proper licensing and training." Wayne Pacelle, Senior Vice President of the Humane Society, said, "If this legislation discourages people from acquiring lions and tigers and keeping them in residential homes, we have almost certainly prevented serious injury or death since common citizens have no business keeping these dangerous animals as pets. The welfare of the cats themselves has also been protected with the passage of this bill." Recent incidents, including the tragic injury suffered by Roy Horn during the Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas and the discovery of a large tiger being kept as a pet in a New York apartment, have brought added public attention to this issue. Current figures estimate that there are more than 5,000 tigers in captivity in the United States. There are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are in native habitats throughout the range in Asia. While some tigers are kept in zoos, most of these animals are kept as pets.