PETA calls on UGA to retire “Uga”, Texas to retire “Bevo” after pre-game scare

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Friday, January 4, 2019

(WRDW/WAGT) – The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, are riling feathers once again with a new push to get rid of live mascots.

This comes after UGA’s Uga nearly got into a sticky situation with the University of Texas’ longhorn mascot, Bevo, before the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

PETA sent letters to both schools after the scuffle went viral Tuesday.

“It’s indefensible to subject animals to the stress of being packed up, carted from state to state, and paraded in front of a stadium full of screaming fans,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “It’s no surprise that a skittish steer would react to a perceived threat by charging, and PETA is calling on the University of Texas and the University of Georgia to learn from this dangerous incident, retire their live-animal mascots, and stick to the talented costumed mascots who can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team.”

Here are copies of the letters:

University of Georgia

Dear President Morehead,

In light of the close call at yesterday’s Allstate Sugar Bowl—in which Bevo the longhorn steer apparently broke out of his enclosure and charged at Uga, nearly trampling him—I urge you to retire Uga and pledge not to use live-animal mascots in the future.

As a UGA alumna, I’m proud of my alma mater for many reasons, but this is not one of them.

Dogs deserve better than to be shuffled from game to game as if they were sporting equipment. Being forced into a stadium full of bright lights, screaming fans, and frightening noises is stressful—even terrifying—for sensitive animals like dogs, who would much rather be at home with their loving guardians.

Bulldogs like Uga are also predisposed to many congenital ailments because of inbreeding and being bred for distorted physical features. Many of these dogs struggle with severe breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, and, as shown in the Uga lineage, heart disorders. Poor ventilation and hot or humid weather can be deadly for bulldogs, and traveling—as Uga is forced to do frequently—is especially taxing on these dogs.

The public doesn’t want to see animals used as props or forced to perform—as evidenced by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ closure and SeaWorld’s decision to end its orca-breeding program. Many schools have retired their animal mascots.

Most universities and professional sports teams use costumed human mascots instead of real animals. Not only is this humane, it also means that the mascots can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team—all things that a frightened animal can’t do. Please, in light of Tuesday’s near-miss, won’t you join them and bring UGA into the future by retiring Uga and pledging not to use real animals as mascots?

Sincerely,

Emily R. Trunnell, Ph.D.

UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Class of 2010

UGA Biomedical & Health Sciences Institute, Neuroscience, Class of 2016

Research Associate

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

University of Texas

Dear President Fenves,

In light of the close call at yesterday’s Allstate Sugar Bowl—in which Bevo apparently broke out of his enclosure and charged at Uga the bulldog, nearly trampling him—I urge you to retire Bevo and pledge not to use live-animal mascots in the future.

As a University of Texas alumnus, I’m disappointed that my alma mater is one of the few schools that still drags live animals to sporting events. Bevo deserves to spend his days grazing with his herdmates, not being shuffled from game to game like a piece of sporting equipment. Being forced into a stadium full of bright lights, screaming fans, and frightening noises is stressful—even terrifying—for sensitive, intelligent animals like longhorns, and this stress could cause Bevo to react in ways that might result in injury to himself or others, as we saw this week.

It’s never been clearer that the public is against using animals as props and forcing them to perform—as evidenced by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ closure and SeaWorld’s decision to end its orca-breeding program. Recognizing this as well as the cruelty inherent in using living beings as mascots, many schools have retired their animal mascots.

Most universities and professional sports teams use costumed human mascots instead of real animals. They can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team—all things that a frightened animal can’t do. In light of Tuesday’s near-miss, I urge you to join them by retiring Bevo and pledging not to use real animals as mascots.

Sincerely,

Neel Parekh

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”