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LSU Just Doesn’t Get It

Written by PETA | May 30, 2007
Dmuth/Creative Commons

It’s incredibly frustrating dealing with these people. The point is a relatively simple one: In captivity, big cats are denied everything that is natural and important to them—companionship for one, not to mention the opportunity to run, climb, hunt, and establish their territory. But officials at LSU, who have insisted on replacing their “mascot”, a Bengal tiger named Mike, with another Mike the tiger, believe that these considerations are less important than their desire to have fans enact some weird ritual that involves chanting about tigers before football games, and that apparently requires an actual frightened tiger in a cage to be done properly. Not that I have anything against weird sports rituals—I love doing the wave, or singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch—but no matter how much history there is behind a tradition, when people come to realize that it’s grounded in cruelty or oppression, it’s just time to find a new one. Simple as that, LSU. You can read ESPN’s coverage of the story here, and if you’d like to write to LSU to ask them to put their heads together and come up with a tradition that doesn’t involve exploiting and abusing exotic animals, you can do that here.

Commenting is closed.
  • Jonette says:

    Mike DOES have a very nice enclosure, but I personally worry about him being lonely. Doesn’t he want companionship? Also carting him around a football stadium filled with 92,000 people drunk and screaming has to be extremely overwhelming, over-stimulating, and frightening. Having a tiger in a very nice enclosure, with a friend, seems fair. The isolation and subjection to screaming fans, does not. Note: I attended LSU, so I have seen all of this firsthand.

  • Greg says:

    Hi Dave. Have you ever seen his enclosure? It has a water feature lots of shade lots of room to run around in and no fence. The walls on one side are made of a slightly tinted glass the others are blocked out by natural objects such as trees and shrubs. He is well cared for and sure lots of fans do not think about him all the time. But he does have caretakers who do. Their sole job is to care for this tiger interact with it feed it and make sure it has the exercise it needs to be happy and healthy. Lots of animals live in cages. A lot are far worse off than Mike who should be the least of your concerns. You should pick your battles more carefully or don’t be surprised when you get flooded with commends like these. Oh and I enjoyed this line “Your other main argument is that “he’s safer there than in the wild”. So by your argument ALL wild animals should be caged hey as you say it’s safer right?” Go take a logic class before you try twisting around an argument.

  • Dave says:

    I have to shake my head sadly at all you people probably mostly LSU students who angrily defend your “right” to keep a wild tiger captive for your stupid games. You use two main excuses That “Mike” has a nice cage…. but you don’t admit that it’s still A CAGE! You wax poetic about how happy he must be yet he has no choice but to live a lonely life in the same pen day after day year after year while you go on and think no more of him and live your lives happy and free. How would you like to be stuck in a cage just so people can use you as a mascot how does that work again? Your other main argument is that “he’s safer there than in the wild”. So by your argument ALL wild animals should be caged hey as you say it’s safer right? Gimme a break. LSU students you’re supposed to be smart. Stop bitching about Peta pointing out the obvious truth that Mike doesn’t belong behind bars. Stop being so selfish and think about what’s best for HIM for a change.

  • BIG LSU FAN says:

    First off mike VI isn’t caged up like some of our dogs cat and birds are.. he has his own place… with a water whole and all… you wanna fuss about LSU and Mike the Tiger but wha about the colleges with wolves and goats as mascots that are caged up… open your eyes Mike is treated better then we would dream about ….

  • A person who loves animals MORE than PETA says:

    You know since Mike VI’s debut I love this cat already! Playful and Agressive. And PETA said not to get one? Bull not getting a tiger is heartbreak to me LSU and Louisiana. Besides his new cage or better yet mini play place is big and good enough for tiger like mike. PETA what do want to do let out a Tiger that will be killed in Africa by some hunter we CAN’T stop or care for him and carry on a tradition that this country respects greatly. So I say this PETA get a new life. Oh yeah I ate some beef some few hours ago and I loved it so!

  • Sally Adrina says:

    Mike V was a wonderful tiger who was personable friendly and loved attention. Not all large cats need others of it’s kind tigers are solitary cats. The new Mike VI has big paws to fill but with his playfulness and love for water I’m sure he’ll win everyone over soon. His teasing nature is already endearing. There is no need to worry about our tiger because we take care of him. The first protective right laws were for animals and then children. The rights for animals are still more protective then those of children. Mike VI is loved and cared for…but what about the children that need attention. Focus where it’s needed the children who can’t protect or provide for themselves.

  • Kate says:

    Mike VI landed in Baton Rouge yesterday he is now being looked after by one of the BEST vet schools in the Nation. GEAUX TIGERS!

  • Robba says:

    Letter to the Chancellor from PETA Since the 1800s Louisiana State University LSU has had a succession of live football playersall of them assigned numbersimprisoned in dorms on campus in Baton Rouge. Used as human battering rams “linemen” are removed from their dormcage on game days and paraded in front of screaming sports fans. Marquise Hill one of the university’s most recent “linemen” passed away on May 27 and we’re urging LSU not to replace him with another human. Big sweaty men and other livehumans don’t belong at athletic events. Regardless of whether or not they were born playing football linemen and other exotic athletes are severely distressed by the overwhelming noise crowds and confusion of games and other events. In their natural environments linemen roam many miles of territory hunt and raise their young. Humans kept as linemen are denied all these things. A college campus may be home to the “wild life” of frat parties and cheerleaders but it is no place for a giant meat eating human whose natural home is a forest or jungle. Please contact the chancellor of LSU to urge him to follow the progressive example of most pro sports teams and other college teams which choose to use only costumed animals as football players a much more effective and humane option. Inform the chancellor that you will not attend athletic events or donate moneyboth huge sources of revenue for the universityuntil LSU discontinues the livehuman lineman program. Disclaimer Marquise Hill was an outstanding athlete and will be sorely missed by thousands of fans. Please do not take this the wrong way. It is no more than a parody that uses one current event to express the absurdity of another more specifically the letter sent by PETA to the Chancellor. We all loved Marquise so don’t give me your hippie lip.

  • Kevin says:

    The problem with PETA. PETA wants LSU to not enforce it’s will on a tiger and allow it to be left alone. They do this by trying to enforce their will upon LSU and not leaving LSU alone. Do you see irony of this situation. Humans are animals too. Show us the same respect and leave us alone. Quit trying to enforce your will upon other people. This is why people despise you even though you are trying to accomplish noble goals. Don’t tell me that we have an ethical responsibility because that is your ethics not mine. Also please don’t try and enforce your ethics on LSU.

  • Jojo says:

    Mike V usually fell asleep before the football pregame festivities were even done… doesn’t sound like the noise was that much of a bother to him. RIP Mike V!

  • Maya says:

    Jay my dear the last thing I meant to do was put words in your mouth. But how am I to interpret your words? “At this point in time reality is that tigers cannot live in the wild in Africa and Asia” So if I were looking to donate money to groups looking to protect tigers it sounds like you’re saying that I should give the money to breeding programs. I hope that’s not what you’re saying. Please help me understand your message. How do you propose we spend the money? If I have nothing substantive to add please then add your own substance. What is the solution?

  • YummyTiger says:

    I want to eat a tiger. Where can I buy a tiger to eat it? Meat good PETA stupid.

  • Jay says:

    Maya How can I “never say again that we should give up on saving the habitat” if I never said it in the first place? When you go around putting words in people’s mouth to further your own cause it screams out to an informed reader that you’re grasping at straws and really don’t have anything of substance to add. I’ve reread my comment and nowhere does it say that we should give up on saving the habitat and how you turned what I said into that is beyond me. I guess some people just hear things the way they want to hear them. Or in this case read them the way they want to read them. At this point in time reality is that Tigers cannot live in the wild in Africa and Asia. In no way does that mean we should give up on habitat restoration. At this point in time I’d love to live in a beach house in Hawaii but that’s not happening. Doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on working for it in the future. What can REALISTICALLY happen and what we’d LIKE to happen are 2 totally different things.

  • Maya says:

    Sean for goodness sake felis domesticus has been living with humans for over 4000 years. And they came to us. Afrcian wildcats intentionally began hanging around to catch mice in barns and on ships and became accustomed to humans. I am a veterinary nurse and I promise you domestic cats do not become depressed when given a good home. They have evolved over 4000 years to be like that. Tigers are much larger compare a 500 lb tiger to a nine lb cat and have not had enough time to evolve in that way. Mike I’m with you that PETA is kind of picking on LSU a bit too much. But I think having a discussion between students and PETA is a good thing. I’ve learned much about the school and the team anyway! I had never heard of them before this. That’s a good step right?

  • mike says:

    I can assure PETA that LSU will not replace Mike V with a tiger taken from the wild. As stated in some earlier comments all of the past Mikes have come in the form of donations from zoos or wildlife reserve type places so any potential replacement for Mike V will be raised in captivity in either case. While I agree that the best habitat for a tiger is in its natural habitat I feel that the fuss being made by PETA over this issue at LSU holds no water based on the fact that if LSU does not take on a new live mascot that potential mascot will be raised in captivity anyway somewhere. LSU has a brand new enclosure that provides more room than most zoo’s and has a dedicated team of volunteers thru the LSU vet school that will see that Mike VI is treated like the royalty that he is. So I say again if this tiger is destined to be raised in captivity why should it not be at a place like LSU where he will recieve the best treatment possible.

  • Sean says:

    Peta talks about how they love animals and most of them probably have cats and dogs. The ironic thing about it is that most domesticated cats if you want to call them domesticated are just as wild as the tiger that LSU is about to get. Now what is the difference between keeping a 15 lb feline locked up in a 1500 sq ft apartment and keeping a 200 lb feline in a 15000 ft oasis??? I get your points about a tiger needing room to roam and find a mate but what most peta animal lovers don’t realize is that their pets still feel the same kind of stress and the need to roam that a tiger feels.It has actually been proven that even the common household pets experience depression based on their captivity. So every peta member i see holding up a cat or dog i can’t help but laugh at the bitter sweet irony of this whole Mike the Tiger debate. Atleast mike gets to roam outside most domestic cats don’t even get that pleasure…………

  • Maya says:

    Jay amen times a thousand on urging PETA to be more mature in their campaigns. If you look you’ll see that I’ve made some seriously bitchy comments to PETA about that myself. But please I beg you never say again that we should give up on saving the habitat. This is not a matter of just losing one species. Any animal that goes extinct has a severe impact on all the animals earth and humans. We can’t live on a planet that does not have a healthy balance of wildlife. Disease pollution loss of crops and water contamination will kill us all when these animals begin to die off. Look at the billions spent in the U.S. on wildlife in zoos or anywhere else in captivity. If that money had been spent to save habitat we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. We need to spend that money on habitat protection and to stop poaching. Keeping token wildlife in zoos is no better than growing trees in our living rooms in case they all die off on the earth.

  • Jay says:

    When was the last time PETA spoke to a tiger and the tiger told PETA that they don’t like living in captivity? Perhaps eating steak every day that you don’t have to chase and being waited on hand and foot isn’t such a bad thing. That could be why tigers live twice as long in captivity than they do in the wild. The fact is tigers can’t survive on their own in the wild of Africa and Asia because of the previously mentioned poaching and habitat destruction. Would you prefer the tigers to go extinct or would you rather keep them around? I’m an animal lover but organizations like PETA do more damage for the ethical treatment of animals than good. People see a bunch of radicals acting like children and immediately want to be on the opposite side of whatever argument you’re making no matter if some of the points are good ones. Just grow up and pick your battles. If you truly think you’re going to accomplish anything with your letter urging people not to attend LSU sporting events you’re sadly mistaken and bordering on delusional. The fact of the matter is people that attend LSU sporting events care more about the yearly rainfall in Paraguay than they do anything that PETA has to say.

  • Maya says:

    Tmart I couldn’t agree more. Habitat destruction is my main focus. I wish more people would think like you and see that the core problem of habitat loss and poaching must be dealt with and we all need to stop dancing around the issue. Amen to that. However the tiger at LSU is a different matter. Wild cats are obligate carnivores and patrol large territories every day. No human made enclosure can come close to fufilling the biological needs of a wild animal even one that is captiveborn. In addition did you read my blog post? Often the enclosures built for these wild animals if humane destroy habitat that is normally used by native animals. Tigers are not native to that area and native wildlife cannot adjust normally to such an enclosure. Thus that particular habitat is destroyed. Quite simply this tiger if living in isolation is being deprived of its natural surroundings. Even though tigers are “solitary” they do have mating seasons and often form bonds with siblings. If this tiger is living alone that in itself is cruel. Please accept my apologies if this tiger does indeed have companions. I am thrilled to hear that the tiger was donated by a zoo. That means it was not bred not by LSU anyway to live in captivity. I’m all for it. I’m sure the enclosure is wonderful. I just wonder if any life of isolation or any life that is primarily used as a mascot for a school team is really considerate of the wild nature of this tiger. I look forward to discussing this further with you if you’re interested.

  • tmart says:

    First of all Maya Mike V was donated by Dr. Thomas and Caroline Atchison of the Animal House Zoological Park in Moulton Alabama. His mother died only months after his birth and so he was not taken away from his mother. Every tiger that LSU has had has been donated by a zoo and none have been taken away from their mother. Second of all since these tigers are donated by zoos it is in no way endangering the existence of tigers in the wild. In fact the $3.5 million home of Mike is better than most zoos you will visit. PETA needs to get a life and turn their attention to more important matters like poaching and habitat destruction. That is the only way to save the bengal tiger from extinction.

  • Maya says:

    Scott You should know that many animal rights activists are openminded. PETA included although you must know them on a personal level to see it. I would love to tour LSU and see their humane animal enclosre. No one is doubting that your college or sporting team has the compassion to give a captive animal a wonderful home. I only have two issues one as pointed out by Bullydawg is that the act of dragging a wild animal into a crowd of screaming people is extremely cruel. Did you know that a feline’s hearing is like a dog’s sense of smell? Loud noises are torture to cats and extremely frightening. Also I would like to know where the tiger came from. Certain things such as buying a wild animal at auction where they are often captured from the wild are unacceptable and illegal. And please read my blog post as to why I believe that breeding in captivity is wrong. I am a certified veterinary nurse and I am earning a master’s degree in wildlife conservation so I do have some credibility. Good luck to your school’s team! httpmaya857.vox.comlibrarypostlynxcontroversey.html

  • BullyDawg says:

    Scott Thank you for your insightful and intelligent post. I only have to quibble with you about the practice of bringing Mike out of his habitat to the stadium where I’m sure the shouts of frenzied fans can’t be exactly pleasing to him. But in regards to the preservation and wellbeing of Royal Bengal tigers in general you make salient points. Not bad…for an LSU fan.

  • Michael says:

    It’s not LSU that doesn’t ‘get it.’ It’s PETA that needs to inform itself about the condition of tigers in the world. PETA has the arrogance to pontificate about issues it knows nothing about. If PETA had an inkling of knowledge on the treatment of tigers in the wild it would be praising LSU for keeping the species alive. Tigers are beset by poachers who kill them and grind their bones and other body parts for aphrodisiacs They are killed by villagers who are encroaching on their habitat and they die due to natural causes far younger than the tigers at LSU. If PETA’s efforts are to truly help tigers survive for future generations then it should use serious fact versus immature phrases and elevate the discussion into the world of relativity versus emotion. HOLD THAT TIGER! Panzer

  • Scott says:

    I know I won’t change your mind about this topic so I won’t even try. The only reason why I’m writing to you is to suggest that instead of judging LSU from afar you should visit LSU instead. See the $3.5 million tiger habitat we have on campus tour the extensive medical facilities devoted to the care of our tiger and meet the people who have dedicated their lives to watching over Mike. I would be willing to bet that you have more in common with those people than you’re comfortable with admitting. I don’t expect your opinion to change but I’m sure it would soften if you took the time to get to know our people. There is no cruelty toward Mike on game day or any other day. Perhaps there could be room for LSU and PETA to cooperate on raising the standard of living for all tigers in captivity. Perhaps research and techniques could be shared with people who need to raise the standards of their tiger habitats. Perhaps money could be raised in a joint effort to improve the lives of tigers in zoos and eliminate the presence of tigers in “roadside” or “backyard” enclosures. But to suggest that no tigers should be held captive… it’s a noble idea truly… but I’d rather Mike live beyond his expected life span at LSU than fall short of his life span under a poacher’s bullet. The tiger is going extinct in the wild and at the rate it’s going now it won’t be PETA’s efforts than ensure that future human generations see and know what tigers are… it will be LSU’s efforts. You should find a way to partner with LSU instead. It seems to me though that you would rather attack LSU simply because we hold the world’s most famous tiger. After all it gets you headlines… and that’s what you guys are really about right? Headlines $$$$. Why not make headlines WITH LSU and make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for tiger preservation instead?

  • rojo says:

    It is sad that such a magnificent animal is used for such trivial pursuits. It’s even sadder that there are fewer than 10000 tigers in the wild worldwide perhaps LSU should be sponsoring some natural habitat in India as recompense.

  • Nunya says:

    First of all they do not do a weird ritual that involves chanting about tigers. You’ve just lost any hope of membership or support within the state of Louisiana with that statement alone. Second why do you care that LSU is going to purchase a Tiger that IS going to live it’s life in captivity be it at LSU or somewhere else. You guys act like they are flying to India to snatch a Tiger out of the wild. Psst…that isn’t happening Third why is LSU the only team on your antilive animal mascot agenda? Did you know other teams have live mascots? Using your logic it is OK to have a bird that isn’t allowed to fly very far and a buffalo that doesn’t really get to roam anywhere but not a tiger. Forth this tiger can be used as an educational tool to help all of his endangered counterparts in the wild. Aren’t those endangered animals in the wild the ones you should be getting fired up over instead of ones that are already in captivity? Get a grip. Why don’t you focus your efforts on more important conservation issues? You might actually get more supporters that way.

  • Mike says:

    This is the stupidest article ever written. Do you really think LSU “Abuses” the mascot. It is housed in a very spacious multimillion dollar facility w around the clock veterinary care. The tiger lives a much nicer life than any tiger in the wild. There is no “cruelty” involved w having this mascot. It is loved and taken care of beyond belief. It is put in a cage and driven around the stadium for 20 prior to home games. No cruelty whatsoever. You PETA people are complete idiots and should kill yourself. GEEZ.

  • tommy dildeuax says:

    companionship? seriously? you do realize that tigers are “ferociously” solitary creatures right? i understand the other part of your argument i don’t consider those “weird” rituals to be a valid point at all. but if you wanna talk about an animal living natural maybe you should start with yourself ahem… computer usage?. what about your internet or your cell phone or anything you do with technology on a daily basis? how does that affect animals? how does that affect anything? sure what i just typed is a little bit silly. but no more silly than downing other people’s traditions. nor is it more silly than claiming a tiger is better left exposed to diseases poachers habitat loss pollution etc. it’s a fine line to walk and it all starts with you. when you live naturally so will the tiger.

  • rachael says:

    What you DONT get is that the tiger that LSU will get will ALREADY be in captivity. What dont you people get about that? Mike VI which we will get will be saved most likely from a ZOO and placed in a 15000 square foot home as opposed to where he would live in a ZOO not in the freaking WILD.

  • Jack Serio says:

    Mike the Tiger is loved by all LSU fans even fans from other schools.He represents the spirit and dedication to Louisiana State University.Mike lives in a 3 million dollar habitat.He gets the best of careLSU has one of the top veternarian schools in the country.While it is known that Bengal tigers live to an average age of 78 years Mike V lived to 18!Bengal Tigers are on the verge of extinction in the wilds of India.There are more Bengal Tigers in captivity than in the wild.Does Peta think it is better to let nature take its course and let the species die out!Go after Michael Vick and his pitbull factory. Sometimes you people make no sense what so ever.Why don’t some of you Peta people visit Baton Rouge and see for your self.He sleeps in a airconditioned building and swims in his own pool. P.S. Tell Whale Dick Mike is not used in any “games”.

  • John D Gray says:

    Get the hell out of here. It’s none of your business.

  • Greg Gauthier says:

    Peta once again you have demonstrated the ability to raise irrelevancy to an art form. Aren’t there more worthy animal rights issues than “protecting” a tiger who will arguably have the highest level of care of any animal of its type in the entire world? Poachers? No. Being hunted for one’s organs? No. Pampered existence and a nationally acclaimed vet school two blocks away? Yes. Take a lesson from Ralph Nader and spare all of us the “my way or the highway” mentality. It’s no way to gain widespread credibility.

  • Ted Reeder says:


  • bfniii says:

    big cat experts say that big cats rely on care in captivity to help keep the species from going extinct. fortunately mike does not have to risk life and limb from poachers diseases and lack of food supply because of his status. an entire community of people adore mike and make him a top priority.

  • GEAUX TIGERS says:

    GEAUX TIGERS Bring in Mike VI

  • matt says:

    When PETA first started you had an objective. Soon enough you idiots will be trying to ban people walking there dogs because you feel it’s choking the dogs and it’s abuse. My question is this? Who has seen the habitat that Mike V lived in? Mike V had it better then any wild tiger.

  • David Dupuy says:

    We down here in South Louisiana really don’t care what PETA thinks about us having a live mascot at LSU. Seriously you are wasting your time. Go hug a tree.

  • Tiger4Ever says:

    Typical spin Spin SPIN! Do you have any facts to back up your claims or do your readers not require such trivial things as facts?

  • Armagetz says:

    I can’t seem to find a single thing in your blog that you haven’t twisted. 1 Lost Companionship Tigers are not social animals and outside of mating the meeting of a pair would lead to a fight. 2 “Weird ritual” I am a student of the campus and we have never chanted this…the song is played but those lyrics haven’t been used in decades. The only reason why this was included was to provide another ad hominem and baseless attack. 3 “Frightened Tiger in a cage”Bull. He doesn’t even pace the cage for the 20 minutes he is in the stadium…he simply lounges. And Mike is never forced to attend the games. They bring up the trailer to the cage and if he wants to go to the game he goes in. No lures or food tricks. A number of times Mike simply decided to stay in his exhibit. When he gets into the stadium he is flanked by members of the LSU vet school preventing any passerby from antagonizing him. 4 And finally all your yapping about capivity. You do realize that not a single Mike that LSU has come from the wild….a wild which is becoming inhospitable for tigers. Zoos are the holy hope for the species at this point and leaves the option for “restocking” the wild. But no…the ohsoenlightend animal rights group that apparently “gets it” would rather do whatever they can to prevent any kind of restoration and just eject all tigers back into the wild. After all who cares if the last tiger in the world dies in some far and unseen jungle because of our actions….they’ll STILL blame everyone else for it because only they care for animals. Tools.

  • jj says:

    ETHICAL TREATMENT Can you really say that LSU doesn’t treat it’s Tiger ethically? Really?? Or is it the BEST way PETA can think of?

  • Stephen Donaldson says:

    You guys are so effed in the head. Nothing we do is Abuse and the tiger is Never Scarred bc he is raised in that enviroment his whole life. Go to a tulane game and do the wave Or go to a San Frisco Game to sing Take me out to the ball game. Maybe they will appreciate you liberal garbage club you support. Just keep your damn comments to your self especially when you quote Ideas about something you know nothing about. If you guys did a little research about this issue rather than posting biased opinions that you form in your head maybe you will see that Mike is the King of LSU and has the better care than most humans. When you do and say things like this proves that you are all a bunch of tree hugging Crying Liberal scum. You are pissing in the wrong group of fans cereal right now and i hope that none of you Douche Bags decide to show up at any of LSU games. If you think we are horriable animals now wait untill you see what we do with liberal pansies

  • jj says:

    Why not be fair and show Mike in his LSU habitat than flaming with a picture of a tiger behind a chain link fence for affect????

  • jj says:

    How many Tigers have been poached in the wild? If a Tiger cub has been born to a Tiger in captivity is it to be taken from the mother to be sent into the wild?? Is a Tiger safer at LSU with medical care and great diet and heaps of love or in the wild where “the wild” is fair game to pelt hunters? Will PETA be roaming Africa shooting poachers??

  • RummelTiger says:

    How do you know the tigers don’t like it? Have you asked them? If so what’d they say? Maybe they like being in a controlled environment…hell who wouldn’t want to live in a 3 million dollar spread? Besides there’s a site that was founded to get Mike laid. So we ARE looking after our boy!

  • Ace says:

    What yall don’t get PETA is that yall are irrational unpractical and sometimes downright idoitic when it comes to situations like this. You can’t speak for any animal especially one with a 15000 sq ft home top notch healthcare and the best menu a Tiger could Desire!

  • slowflowpro says:

    tigers in captivity safe tigers in the wild scalped why aren’t you funding indian efforts to stop poaching?

  • Dick the Whale says:

    It should be internationally forbidden to use any animal in games because the result at the end of the line is always abuse!