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Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

PETA stance on LSU mascot laughable

Group believes live animals have no place on college campuses, tradition be darned

May 30, 2007

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Just when you thought it was safe for Mike the Tiger to go back into his lair, along comes PETA to again give us something to laugh about.

Mike is LSU's mascot, or at least he was until last week. That's when Mike V died of kidney failure at the ripe old age of 17.

Now LSU is looking for Mike VI. When word reached the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, workers immediately stopped giving manicures to the office rats and sent a letter to LSU.

It basically said the school is being cruel and should change its nickname to the Fighting Rutabagas because rutabagas have no feelings.

OK, I made up that last part. It's just that PETA long ago gave up the right to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to sports.

It has long been against fishing, hunting and rodeos. It doesn't even want people to eat fish. Though if fish eat people, that's fine.

PETA called NBA players sissies when they complained about the synthetic basketball at the start of the season. The league went back to a cowhide ball, figuring it would rather make Steve Nash happy than a bunch of cow-huggers.

It's not that most of us don't love cows (I like mine medium-rare), dogs, cats, gerbils and all of God's creatures. But PETA has turned genuine concern into uncompromising looniness.

South Carolina fans were informed the nickname "Gamecocks" is bad because it promotes cockfighting. Under that edict, Georgia better ditch Bulldogs before Michael Vick rolls into Athens.

PETA doesn't believe live mascots have any place on the college scene. If it had its way, Chief Osceola would ride onto the field in a golf cart to plant his flaming spear.

The Sooner Schooner would be pulled by a half-dozen frat boys. Ralphie the Buffalo would be replaced by Rosie O'Donnell, which actually might not be such a bad idea.

Then there's Mike, a 71-year-old tradition at LSU. He works one day a week in the fall, lounging in a cage as 90,000 fans belt out "Hold That Tiger!"

PETA's letter decried the plight of thousands of big cats held in "shabby backyard pens and basements." Last year LSU built Mike a 15,000-plus square-foot home, complete with air conditioning, a swimming pool, a waterfall and no property taxes.

Mike's new digs cost $3 million, which makes you think the homeless should be protesting instead of PETA. Of course, the homeless are only human and therefore have fewer rights.

Most zoologists believe Bengal tigers are better off in captivity. If I'm a cub and had the choice of life in the wild or a man-made jungle with room service and free medical care, I know which one I'd take. I also know which one PETA would take.

"These people are extremists who are never satisfied no matter what you do," said Steve Feldman of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Probably not, but LSU should invite them down for a football weekend. Let them eat some catfish and toss around a cowhide football. If the PETA-heads are still worked up, let them drop in on Mike's home. And try to remember to hold that Tiger.

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