I was looking at a board on Pinterest when I came across an image of a deformed tiger. Curious, I clicked on it. It turns out that Kenny the tiger (Info: The Pet Collective) was the result of deliberate inbreeding. He was physically deformed and mentally limited. I’m not sure what disgusted me more about this story: the fact that someone purposefully inbred animals knowing the risks, or the comments that people left on stories about it.
I find it appalling that someone was inbreeding brother and sister tigers in order to get more tigers to sell. They had no concern for the deformities that would likely result or the suffering of the animals, they only cared about the money. When Kenny and his Brother were given up as unsellable, I cannot understand why the shelter that took them didn’t report the breeders and have them shut down immediately. People like that should not be allowed anywhere near animals, ever.
The comments that followed the two articles I read made me sad for humanity once again. Some people praised the shelter for trying to care for these poor tigers and give them a fair quality of life, and admonished the breeders and others like them. That makes sense. What didn’t make sense were the other comments interspersed along the way.
Some people actually thought this deformed animal was “cute”, “precious” and “funny.” Really? There’s nothing cute or funny about horrible deformities and inbreeding. Someone called the tiger a “freak” that should be “burned at the stake.” Another said “I feel okay with laughing.” Sometimes I have to wonder how some people live to adulthood. Probably because stupidity isn’t illegal.
I’ve seen things like this in other places too. Does anyone remember Twisty Kats? They were cats with a limb deformity, radial hypoplasia, which caused stunted limbs and often the inability to walk properly. People thought they were “adorable” and they were being bred deliberately and sold. Even though this condition had to be inbred and caused pain and mobility issues for the cats, people wanted to own them. Breeding and buying deliberately deformed animals is just sick to me.
People are even starting to get up in arms about the Lykoi, or “werewolf cat.” Many fear that these animals, while unique, may just become another cat that no one will adopt as they are overbred and the fad surrounding them wears off. I can actually understand that fear. Designer animals can often become a problem when the initial interest wears off. To my knowledge Lykoi are not deformed or sickly, which is good. Unfortunately, many animals are bred specifically to encourage deformities or recessive qualities that actually impair the life of the animal and frequently result in stillborn or short-lived offspring.
This is just one more of those things that people need to wake up about and start taking action on. Inbreeding animals for profit needs to be illegal. Even dalmatians, which few think about anymore, can often be born deaf or with thyroid problems due to the inbreeding needed to get the “perfect” coat pattern. Responsible animal breeding is something that seriously needs to be addressed, but profit overtakes caution and sense for many people.