Following the now-viral video of the University of Texas at Austin’s steer Bevo nearly trampling over Georgia’s English bulldog mascot, Uga, at the All-State Sugar Bowl in New Orleans earlier this month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for an end to live college mascots.
The viral video shows Bevo breaking free of the metal barricades and running toward Uga just before the game.
PETA officials wrote on their blog, “This frightening near-tragedy is yet another example of the reason most colleges and professional sports teams retired their live-animal mascots decades ago — and the handful who haven’t yet should quickly follow suit.
Live animals used as mascots, such as Baylor University’s bears and the University of North Alabama’s lions, are held in captivity and often denied the opportunity to fulfill many of their most basic instincts. They’re frequently carted around to sporting events and public appearances, which are confusing and frightening for them. Human mascots can engage with sports fans, pose for pictures, lead cheers, and pump up their teams and fans much better than a terrified animal can. They’re also much less expensive for schools, and some universities offer scholarships for student mascots.
If your favorite team is still forcing live animals to serve as mascots, please send a polite e-mail to its fundraising or community-outreach committee urging it to use willing human participants instead.”
John Bianco, a spokesman for UT’s Athletics Department told the Austin-American Statesman in an email that all of the established safety measures for Bevo at home and away football games were in place at the Sugar Bowl.
“The handlers that are with him at all times are well-educated, trained and did their job,” he said.
Well, the Sugar Bowl just got a lot more interesting …pic.twitter.com/jFtBvIpdCx
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2019