There's a petition to remove one of the most iconic mascots in college football. Here's an update on where things stand as of Thursday afternoon.
The petition, started by Care2, a California-based social media operation with 40 million members, is attempting to "set free" LSU's live tiger mascot. LSU has long had a live mascot named "Mike the Tiger."
There are now roughly 60,000 signatures on the petition.
Wanting an exotic animal like a tiger to live in the wild isn't a bad idea, but it's important to note that the current version of Mike the Tiger is a rescue animal. He lives in a multi-million dollar facility in Baton Rouge, La.
“We believe that animals shouldn’t be used as entertainment, they aren’t here for our amusement,” said Rebecca Gerber of Care2, a California-based social media operation with 40 million members. Care2 is sponsoring the effort that began two weeks ago.
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.”
LSU released the following statement regarding the petition:
“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.”