When I touch a big cat I live. I'm a lot like the autistic boy who came out of his shell when he touched a cheetah. I know very well that it doesn't take "years of experience" just to be able to survive handling a big cat. If it did most of the people who handle them would already be dead.
I am not going to go through any years and years of "training" with so many months no-touch, so many years touching only through a fence, maybe ten years before flying solo. Some would think it suicidal, but with an owner's permission I would go into a situation where they give a few hours instruction and a few days supervised practice then allow me to be a handler. If there is a slightly increased chance that I would be injured and/or die, so be it. I think that anything beyond a few weeks training would be trying to put way too fine a point on it. Any increase in survivability would be too small to measure within the limits of error in that measurement. Doing the ten year stretch would simply be OCD.
When a person tries to have a life, he's screwed if he spends hours and hours of angst-filled introspection and lengthy philosophical discussion over things that can't be decided by the entire community with centuries to cogitate. (Guess how I know.) This is why at least hypothetically in the United States an individual is free to live in his own way. In practice even your best buds will lock you in a closet when in their opinion you are too free.
Since I don't want to do what they want me to do and won't be what they want me to be, the "professionals" of the exotic animal community will refuse to attempt to help me except to warn me that I am going to die. I'm sorry, the people who I have met online seem like decent people, but this ten years of ascension, with the permission of the guru, on a tightrope, is not my thing and I do not believe in it. It might impress the rubes but if it is an attempt to persuade people that their group of animal handlers (definitely not "we") is safe, they're missing some points.
One point is that everything that we do to try to impress the animal grabbers is wasted. They have a vested interest in doing things their way. You and I, if you are also interested in working with big cats, are "dangerous" unless we belong to their group, then we get a free pass on everything. As long as we are not caught with dropped trou in the town square we're fine. We would have to very very very blatantly embarrass the grabbers, which is very hard to do, and even if we manage that, they will just pretend that they don't know us. It works for the animal rights activists.
We simply don't know how to fight back. Too many people people started out trying to impress the cat grabbers in the beginning and the realization still doesn't seem to have sunk in, not in the right place in so many minds. The people who want to grab our animals away from us are going to tell any lie that it takes. They are going to negate any effort to impress them favorably by lying and by being the same sociopathic jerks that they always have been. Trying to impress them is spinning their wheels.
If this sounds like an appeal for someone to invite me to their home to play with their big cat, hey, I'd love it, I'd put my money and my tender body where my mouth is, but don't fall for it. If you as a responsible animal owner decide that I should be kept at arm's length, said arm ending in a hand resting on a keyboard, please do so. As everyone knows, if a person such as me benefits from any such idea, he is a selfish bastard who is manipulating things to get what he wants and that proves that his idea is of no benefit to anyone. Just tell yourself that you have my number.
They will use any "safety measure" to harass the exotic animal community. If they increase the required height of a fence from 12 to 14 feet and say that everyone has to "comply" it will cost tens of thousands of dollars at the very least per facility. They just claim that this makes things safer. It absolutely does not matter to them if we can prove that the savings in lives will be so few that they can't even be measured with any degree of certainty. As long as they can maintain a pretense, in other words, until the end of time, they will use that. People who believe in freedom, i.e. "suicidal idiots who are a danger to the community and should be Baker acted", are obviously wrong because 14 feet is safer than 12 feet.
And "our side" which I am not even nominally a part of wants to go them one or more better on training requirements. Does "our side" want to have enough members to fill a Suburban?
Because I am a selfish git in addition to being a suicidal idiot who should be Baker acted and who walks and talks funny anyway, I don't see the point of hanging on to something that is emotionally unrewarding. I want the joy of living with animals along with the work. This joy will not be happening. It will be ground out of me if I even reach the place where I am so lucky as to be in the grinder. Then I guess I won't be selfish anymore, anyway.