Less than a year and a half after taking over as the University of Georgia’s (UGA) mascot following the death of his predecessor, Uga VII died last week. With his passing comes a communal outpouring of grief and new discussions about the search for his successor.
It’s no coincidence that Uga VII died of a heart ailment similar to the one that killed Uga VI. Puppy peddlers rely on inbreeding to preserve bloodlines, which creates genetic defects and makes dogs susceptible to congenital illnesses. After years of genetic manipulation, countless bulldogs suffer from constant skin and eye infections, hip dysplasia, and weak respiratory systems—which are worsened by the kind of poor ventilation and hot, humid weather that Uga VII was exposed to as a constantly traveling mascot. Bulldogs also can’t give birth naturally because of their large heads and small hips, so breeders artificially inseminate the females then cut them open year after year for c-sections.
In addition to breeding deadly defects, breeders contribute to the companion animal overpopulation crisis. Every year, approximately 4 million animals in animal shelters are euthanized because there simply aren’t enough good homes. To help end the crisis—and UGA’s string of preventable mascot deaths—we’re asking the University to honor Uga VII by replacing him with an animatronic or solely using their costumed mascot, Hairy Dawg.
We can’t think of a more fitting legacy for Uga VII than to stop the breeding of animals, which causes so many lethal genetic problems like those that undoubtedly contributed to his untimely death.
It’s always right to root for compassion.
Written by Logan Scherer