Live college mascots reflect obsession with traditions
Issues & Answers: LSU Chancellor's Office
PETA: School Spirit 101: Live-Animal Mascots Get An " F"
Bucky Badger History
The 10 Strangest College Mascots
For colleges and universities across the United States, a mascot is often seen as a type of "must-have" element to satisfy the totemic desires of students, alumni, and members of the local community. In recent years however, a number of human mascots have come under fire as being generally insensitive, and in some cases, brazenly racist. With that situation serving as a general backdrop, it is not surprising that criticisms directed at institutions that keep live animal mascots have started to rise in number and in their general tenor. One particular mascot that a number of animal rights groups and others have found troubling is Mike VI, who happens to be the Bengal-Siberian tiger that serves as the mascot for Louisiana State University. The tiger was acquired several months ago to replace the previous tiger, which died as a result of kidney failure at the age of seventeen. A representative from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) remarked in a recent interview that "Keeping wild animals in captivity is cruel" and continued by saying "The whole idea of carting this animal to a sporting event with screaming people is stressful to any wild animal." LSU is certainly not the only school to keep live animal mascots, and it seems that other schools may be taking a closer look at their policy regarding the keeping of live animals as mascots.
The first link will lead users to an article from the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger, which talks about the ongoing debate about the use of live animals as college mascots. The second link will take users to a very nice piece from USA Today about the well-documented fascination with live college mascots. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to the "Issues & Answers" online feature where the chancellor of LSU responds to criticisms about their use of a live tiger as a mascot. The fourth link leads to PETA's own online information area dedicated to the use of live animals as mascots. The fifth link leads to a nice historical essay about the celebrated mascot of the University of Wisconsin, Bucky Badger. It is also worth mentioning that the University has not used a live badger since 1947, when the badger got loose at a campus football contest and made its way towards the sidelines. The delightful and quizzical "10 Strangest College Mascots" site rounds out this selection of links. Just to give fair warning, boll weevils, anteaters, and fighting okra can all be found here.
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