USDA Petition Seeks to Ban ‘Frankencats’

PETA Wants Prohibition on Breeding Ligers, White Tigers, Tigons, and Others Prone to Health Problems, Early Deaths

For Immediate Release:
May 19, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA and a coalition of animal groups and sanctuaries submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on the agency to prohibit the intentional breeding of “Frankencats”—white tigers and felid hybrids, such as ligers, tigons, liligers, and other animals who are at greater risk of developing disease, becoming injured, and dying prematurely than other big cats and who are being bred solely to be exploited for their novelty value.

White tigers, who have been inbred for an extremely rare recessive white coloration gene, are at significant risk of developing scoliosis, cleft palates, spinal problems, and other serious health conditions. Ligers, the offspring of a female tiger and a male lion, are predisposed to problematic gigantism and behavioral problems. Tigons, the result of breeding a female lion and a male tiger, usually do not survive infancy and suffer from a number of neurological conditions and depression.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that because the Animal Welfare Act is meant to prohibit practices that increase animals’ likelihood of injury or illness, it is necessary for the USDA to prohibit these breeding practices.

“Unscrupulous animal exhibitors are inbreeding sickly white tigers and cross-breeding deformed ligers solely to attract tourists and sell tickets,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the authorities to end this cruel cash grab by prohibiting the intentional breeding of ‘Frankencats.’”

While accredited zoological institutions have long prohibited the practice of inbreeding and cross-breeding “Frankencats,” roadside zoos across the U.S. continue to offer “selfies” with these animals and even sell these special-needs animals as “pets” to private collectors.

PETA’s co-petitioners are the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, Big Cat Rescue, Keepers of the Wild, The Wildcat Sanctuary, and Lions, Tigers & Bears.

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