Warned in 1983 AZA Finally Calls for an End to the
Practice of Breeding White Tigers and White Lions
In June 2011 the board of directors for the American Zoological Association (AZA) formalized their 2008 ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions or king cheetahs by their member zoos. Their report said, “Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics, which are outlined in this paper.” This change in policy came more than 12 years after Big Cat Rescue first released Dr. Laughlin’s expose here: https://bigcatrescue.org/abuse-issues/issues/white-tigers
Because of the inbreeding and resulting genetic defects the American Zoological Association barred member zoos from breeding white tigers, white lions and king cheetahs in a white paper adopted by the board of directors in July 2011.
It is noteworthy that the first person to speak out against the displaying of white tigers was William Conway, director of the NY Zoological Association, which later became known as the Bronx zoo when he said, “White tigers are freaks. It’s not the role of a zoo to show two headed calves and white tigers.” He warned AZA in 1983 of the harm to the zoo’s credibility in catering to the public’s fascination with freaks, but went unheeded until 2008 when AZA issued a request to their members to stop breeding white tigers and then later in July 2011 when the AZA formally adopted that stance as policy. Conway was attacked by Ed Maruska of the Cincinnati Zoo and other zoos that were profiting by inbreeding tigers to get white coats, but in the end Conway’s belief was validated. Read the AZA Policy Against Breeding White Tigers, White Lions and King Cheetahs