A petition to remove a live college football mascot has more than 35,000 signatures.
Tens of thousands of people are calling for LSU to set its live mascot, Mike the Tiger, free. It also is asking for the Tigers to stop having a live mascot.
Roughly 35,000 people have signed the petition, which was started by Care2, a California-based social media operation with 40 million members.
“We believe that animals shouldn’t be used as entertainment, they aren’t here for our amusement,” said Rebecca Gerber of Care2.
Though LSU has spent millions improving the mascot’s enclosure, Gerber said Wednesday the point is that having a wild animal on campus as a tourist attraction makes it easier for people to accept killing animals for consumer trifles, which is the most likely end for tigers bred in captivity.
“They should be in the wild and respected,” she said. “Even treated very kindly, it’s easier to see them as here entertainment, disposable props for football … We’re trying to stop that message completely.”
This isn’t Care2’s first stab at petitioning LSU on behalf of Mike VII. Soon after Mike VI died of cancer, the group gathered 142,000 signatures asking LSU not to replace him with a new tiger. In comparison, the petition asking to create the City of St. George had about 13,000 signatures in June.
LSU never responded.
LSU has reportedly responded with the following statement:
“The university does not support the for-profit breeding of tigers. By providing a home for a tiger that needs one, LSU hopes to raise awareness about the problem of irresponsible breeding and the plight of tigers kept illegally and/or inappropriately in captivity in the U.S.”
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