By George Flynn | Opinions Editor
I love my cat to pieces. Although she hates being touched and only approached me when she is hungry, I cannot get enough of Tootsie. She bites hard and has a mean stink eye and I appreciate her for these sassy qualities. I am so lucky to have her. However, not too far away from my own feline’s home, there is another species of cat that is being treated poorly by the human race.
White tigers are being forced to procreate with their parents and siblings to create offspring. Inbreeding is the only way to create another tiger with a pure white coat. This heinous act, forced upon the precious cats for the visual stimulation of humans is an atrocity, and unfortunately, another ugly form of animal abuse.
The inbreeding of white tigers has been occurring for many years. The inbreeding started with the capture of a white tiger in the 1950’s named Mohan. According to a timeline of the inbreeding created by the Big Cat Rescue organization website, Mohan was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh in Rewa, India in 1951. From then, Mohan was forced to breed with tigers in hopes to recreate tigers with his fur coat. This only bred tigers of normal coats of orange. The “bright” idea occurred to inbreed and they forced Mohan to inbreed with his daughter, and this created a litter of white cubs. From then on, they have been inbreeding these tigers to consistently create tigers with white coats of fur.
The white coats are beautiful in every way, but at what cost? The inbreeding in recent history has caused deformities. Kenny was a white tiger who was subject to inbreeding in the United States and suffered from Down syndrome. According to an article from LiveLeaks, the limited genetic pool leads to the tigers inheriting deformities and health defects. Kenny is considered the first tiger with Down syndrome.
Not only do the captive inbred white tigers suffer from deformities, but they have many health problems which can lead to short lives. According an article published by Advocacy for Animals, tigers can suffer from scoliosis of the back, cleft palates, neurological disorders and many other issues involving health. Besides this, many of the tigers are stillborn due to the monstrous inbreeding.
White tigers in captivity suffer a great deal, but they are not the only ones who suffer. The very few white tigers in the wild suffer from the beautiful fur as it lacks an important factor for survival.
In nature, the rarity of tiger born with white fur is one out of 10,000 according Advocacy for Animals article. A tiger born in the wild with white fur is actually not a gift but in fact a robbery of camouflage, which is one of the biggest tools of survival for a white tiger. Tigers depend on their camouflage to catch prey, and fur which lacks pigment, becomes a huge issue. Prey will be able to spot a white tiger a mile away and will have the chance to flee before it can be consumed. It has been known for the natural white tigers to die of starvation in the wild.
This rare recessive gene is not a gift for the very few that inherit it naturally. Inheriting white fur for these tigers in the wild is basically a genetic form of signing their own death certificate. Humanity should not be encouraging tigers in captivity to have this fur. It is even more unnecessary for these tigers to be inbreeding to have white fur. Only certain members of humanity support this disgusting endeavor.
Inbreeding of tigers and any form of inbreeding for the creation of something that appears to be beautiful is wrong. It has wronged white tigers specifically for the past 60 years and has caused health issues. Although we have organizations spreading awareness, we hope the mistreatment of these precious tigers ends. It can only get worse in time. Tigers deserve to live freely and be loved for what they are, whether their fur happens to be orange or white.