President Trump’s pardon of Joe Exotic is an affront to animal-loving Americans, Republican, Democrat and independent, and it will be viewed with outrage today and for many years to come.

Joe Exotic, a.k.a. Joseph Maldonado Passage is a serial tiger abuser/killer who was serving a 22-year sentence for killing five tigers in his care and taking out a hit on a big cat sanctuary owner. This obscure character grabbed the eye of average Americans, and the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., because of the Netflix series, "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," which was released soon after the nation went into lockdown last year.

The series features Maldonado-Passage and his outlandish lifestyle as owner of the ramshackle operation, GW Exotics, in Oklahoma, which we investigated in 2011. Soon after its release, Trump, Jr. went on air to say that he had watched the series “in two sittings” and that he had found the sentence against Maldonado-Passage “aggressive.” He joked that he could lobby his father to pardon Joe Exotic simply to watch the mainstream media’s reaction.

It now appears that his father took him seriously.

Trump Jr., an avid trophy hunter who killed a rare and imperiled species of argali sheep in Mongolia in August 2019, doesn’t seem to understand why someone like Joe Exotic deserves to be in jail. But animal protectionists who have followed Joe Exotic's cruelties to animals for many years, know just what he is capable of, and a jury of his peers found him guilty for multiple crimes.

Prison is where he belongs. In the 20 years that he ran his roadside zoo, Joe Exotic did not show an iota of compassion to the hundreds of tigers and other big cats, bears, primates, reptiles, horses and other animals who passed through his hands. He snatched newborn cubs from their mothers, offered them to paying visitors for petting and selfies, and kicked and punched them when they did not cooperate. When he was done with them, they were either warehoused in small cages, sold to other poorly run attractions, or even killed. His long-running hatred of Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue who opposed his chronic neglect and mistreatment of animals, led him to stalk and harass her in multiple ways over the years and culminated with his hiring a hitman to kill her.

Fortunately, Congress is moving on a bill that would stop people like Joe Exotic from breeding big cats and offering them for public contact. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which passed the U.S. House in the last Congress, has been reintroduced this month by Reps. Michael Quigley, D-Ill., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn, and we will be working to ensure it becomes law. Please join us in urging your member of Congress to approve this bill without delay so Joe Exotic and others like him cannot continue to profit off the suffering of magnificent wild animals.