A day after LSU announced Mike the Tiger has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, an animal advocacy group called on the university to stop using live tiger mascots.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, urged LSU to end the tradition of keeping a live tiger on campus and carting the tiger around Tiger Stadium during football games.
"People go to LSU football games because they want to see top college athletes playing the best football in the country, not because there's a caged tiger sitting on the sidelines," said the letter signed by Lewis Crary, with PETA, and Cheyenne Fouts, an LSU animal advocate. "Orcas don't belong in tanks, elephants don't belong in the circus, and tigers do not belong in stadiums. In his sickly condition, Mike VI should not be wheeled out to games this coming season."
The letter said that captive tigers "are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them."
"They live in perpetual states of confinement, discomfort, and stress and, at LSU games, are subjected to a constant barrage of disorienting lights and activity," the letter said. "Even under the best of care, a tiger's most basic instincts are thwarted in captivity, and continuing to use live animals as mascots perpetuates the cruel notion that sensitive, complex wild animals should be caged and put on display like championship trophies."
On Monday, LSU announced the 11-year-old tiger has a rare tumor in the right side of its face. The cancer will be treated, prolonging Mike's life for maybe one or two more years, but it cannot cure him.
Mike is the sixth live tiger LSU has had on its campus. Animal advocates have frequently chastised LSU for its practice of keeping a live tiger on campus.
For more, visit The Advocate's website.