The Truth Behind New York’s Ban on Tiger Selfies

You may have heard that New York is banning tiger selfies after a spate of them on dating app Tinder. What, you may be asking yourself, is a tiger selfie (and for that matter, what is Tinder), and why would NY pass a law to ban them? We explain, and clear up some misconceptions.

In order:

  1. A tiger selfie is a selfie taken posed with a real tiger (yes, really).
  2.  

  3. Tinder is an online dating app for your smartphone
  4.  

  5. In fact, the pending New York law does not specifically ban tiger selfies; it does ban interaction with big cats, and was proposed before tiger selfies became a thing.
  6.  

    tiger selfies
    Tiger selfies are actually a thing. A Google search of tiger selfie images turns up tons of them

    There is even a Tumblr site, http://tinderguyswithtigers.tumblr.com, devoted to screen shots of Tinder dating profiles with tiger selfies.

    tinder tiger selfie

    According to the legislator who proposed and authored bill A9004C, AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to public safety and big cats, NY State Democrat Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, she only heard about tiger selfies after she had already passed the bill, which was introduced in March of this year.

    “[I]t certainly wasn’t directed at people who use social media to date,” Rosenthal told CNET in an interview last week.

    That said, adds Rosenthal, “I actually think it makes them look kind of foolish. Maybe they want to look like they’re daredevils, but as anyone who works with wild animals knows, you can train them and hope that they remember what they’ve learned, but they’re wild animals and by nature they’re unpredictable.”

    We tend to agree. In fact, tiger selfies may just turn out to be a brilliant example of Darwinism in action, in more ways than one.

    In other news, just yesterday Tinder was sued by their only female co-founder over allegations of sexual harrassment, leading to parent company IAC, the media marketing conglomerate, suspending accused Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen.

    Below is the full text of New York Assembly Bill A9004C, AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to public safety and big cats. Here, by the way, is a real tiger selfie:

    real tiger selfie
    Copyright http://www.diomedia.com.br

    S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K

    9004–C

    I N A S S E M B L Y

    March 6, 2014
    ___________

    Introduced by M. of A. ROSENTHAL, BENEDETTO, MILLMAN, COLTON — read
    once and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation —
    committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
    recommitted to said committee — again reported from said committee
    with amendments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said
    committee — reported and referred to the Committee on Codes —
    committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
    recommitted to said committee

    AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
    public safety and big cats

    THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
    BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1 Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a
    2 new section 11-0538 to read as follows:
    3 S 11-0538. DIRECT CONTACT BETWEEN PUBLIC AND BIG CATS PROHIBITED.
    4 1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION:
    5 (A) “BIG CAT” SHALL MEAN ANY LIVE SPECIES OF LION (PANTHERA LEO),
    6 TIGER (PANTHERA TIGRES), LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS) (WITH THE EXCEPTION
    7 OF CLOUDED LEOPARDS (NEOFELIS NEBULOSA)), JAGUAR (PANTHERA ONCA), MOUN-
    8 TAIN LION, SOMETIMES CALLED COUGAR (FELIS CONCOLAR) OR ANY HYBRID OF
    9 SUCH SPECIES.
    10 (B) “DIRECT CONTACT” MEANS PHYSICAL CONTACT OR PROXIMITY WHERE PHYS-
    11 ICAL CONTACT IS POSSIBLE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ALLOWING A
    12 PHOTOGRAPH TO BE TAKEN WITHOUT A PERMANENT PHYSICAL BARRIER DESIGNED TO
    13 PREVENT PHYSICAL CONTACT BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND BIG CATS.
    14 (C) “DEALER” SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO, IN COMMERCE, FOR COMPENSATION
    15 OR PROFIT, DELIVERS FOR TRANSPORTATION, OR TRANSPORTS, EXCEPT AS A
    16 CARRIER, BUYS, SELLS, OR NEGOTIATES THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF ANY ANIMALS.
    17 (D) “EXHIBITOR” SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON (PUBLIC OR PRIVATE) EXHIBITING
    18 ANY ANIMALS, WHICH WERE PURCHASED IN COMMERCE OR THE INTENDED DISTRIB-
    19 UTION OF WHICH AFFECTS COMMERCE, OR WILL AFFECT COMMERCE, TO THE PUBLIC
    20 FOR COMPENSATION, AS DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSIONER, AND SUCH TERM
    21 INCLUDES CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES, AND ZOOS EXHIBITING SUCH ANIMALS WHETHER
    22 OPERATED FOR PROFIT OR NOT.

    EXPLANATION–Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
    [ ] is old law to be omitted.
    LBD14190-09-4
    A. 9004–C 2

    1 2. IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON LICENSED OR REQUIRED TO BE
    2 LICENSED AS AN EXHIBITOR OR DEALER PURSUANT TO THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT, 7
    3 USC 2132-2134, INCLUDING AGENTS OR EMPLOYEES OF SUCH PERSON, TO KNOWING-
    4 LY ALLOW THE PUBLIC TO HAVE DIRECT CONTACT WITH A BIG CAT.
    5 3. ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE
    6 SUBJECT TO A PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR THE FIRST
    7 OFFENSE AND NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A SECOND AND SUBSE-
    8 QUENT OFFENSES. EACH INSTANCE OF ALLOWING DIRECT CONTACT OF A BIG CAT
    9 WITH THE PUBLIC IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE
    10 OFFENSE.
    11 4. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT OR RESTRICT
    12 VETERINARY EXAMINATION, TREATMENT OR CARE OF A BIG CAT OR TRANSPORTATION
    13 OF THE ANIMAL FOR SUCH PURPOSE.
    14 S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    15 it shall have become a law.

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The Truth Behind New York's Ban on Tiger Selfies
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The Truth Behind New York's Ban on Tiger Selfies
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Is New York really banning tiger selfies? Why would NY ban tiger selfies? And what is Tinder? We explain, and clear up some misconceptions.
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