kenny down syndrome tiger

The inbred white tiger was only allowed to live because his owner’s son ‘thought Kenny was cute’

Kenny’s deformed face, which many people claimed was caused by Down’s Syndrome, is the result of cruel inbreeding by money-hungry animal traffickers who could make as much as £30,000 per pet white tiger cub.

The SUN reports for a Kenny’s sad story – which began when he was born on a tiger farm in Bentonville, Arkansas in 1998 – has come to light again because of a rise in the species being slaughtered for fur and their meat boiled into stock cubes in Europe.

Alarmingly there are current ads online showing breeders flogging inbred tiger cubs for up to £2,000, stating that they sell: “Tamed babies of 1 to 13 weeks” and offer “well trained exotic pets for low prices”.

The species’ white coat – which occurs in only 1 in 10,000 in the wild – is the result of breeding two Bengal tigers with a recessive pigment gene.

kenny down syndrome tiger1
Willie, Kenny’s brother, who was born with severely crossed eyes

Captive inbreeding results in high neonatal mortality rates and there is only a one in 30 chance that a cub will be healthy.

The other 29 newborns typically are deformed, cross-eyed or have abnormal limbs – and breathing and chewing problems are common.

Most die shortly after birth or are killed if they’re considered the wrong colour.

kenny down syndrome tiger3
The two brothers relax together in their new home after being rescued by an animal refuge

Kenny was rescued when his breeder contacted The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, asking them to take the two brothers from him.

Staff describe how the “gruff man” demanded £7,800 for the brothers, claiming their deformities would boost ticket sales.

When the centre refused, the breeder eventually agreed to give them up.

Staff were shocked at Kenny’s deformities, especially his squashed face – which his owner tried to pass off as self-inflicted.

Tiger farms are hugely popular in Asia and are quickly turning into a global industry.

The white tiger shocked the world with his appearance, with some saying he looks like a bulldog

Often disguising themselves as animal sanctuaries, they look to meet increasing demands for tiger fur, body parts and domesticated tigers to be kept as pets.

Skins are turned into luxury rugs, tiger bones are used to make “self-healing” health tonics and wines and the meat is popular with high-flying businessmen, who believe that consuming the cats will improve their performance at work.

The article was published first on the SUN. Continue reading…