Coach Campbell Gets His Lion … From PETA

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


A plush toy lion named Dan Detroit is on the way from PETA to the new Detroit Lions coach, Dan Campbell, who recently joked that he wanted to liven up practice with a live lion, adding, “I don’t know if PETA’s going to allow that.”

In an accompanying letter, PETA explains that Dan Detroit can be a symbol of support for all lions—both those in uniform at Ford Field and those forced to live inside barren backyard cages, used as photo props at roadside zoos, or whipped to force them to perform tricks in circuses.

“No lion belongs in a barren cage or on a chain,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “If Coach Campbell makes Dan Detroit part of the Lions’ entourage, he’ll help PETA spread the message that lions are wild animals, not mascots, props, or ‘pets.’”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—has also sent Campbell a gift basket filled with vegan goodies, including delicious lion-shaped chocolates.

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PETA’s letter to Campbell follows.

Dear Coach Campbell,

Congratulations on your new role as head coach of the Detroit Lions! We heard your comments made in jest about acquiring a lion to keep as a “pet” at the team’s facilities. As you mentioned, lions are wild animals, and they don’t belong in football stadiums (or at roadside zoos or in people’s backyards).

Fortunately, the world is more aware now than ever before of the suffering endured by exotic animals when they’re condemned to live in a barren cage, forced to interact with members of the public, and coerced into doing demeaning tricks at the end of a chain and under threat of being whipped. And this awareness has meant that more decrepit roadside zoos that are incapable of taking care of animals have been shut down, abusive exhibitors have lost their licenses (or even gone to prison), and previously exploited big cats have found new homes in accredited sanctuaries.

So while the Detroit Lions should remain the only lions at Ford Field, we thought we would send you an addition to your team: Meet Dan Detroit the Lion!

Making Dan Detroit part of the Detroit Lions’ entourage will encourage an end to the abuse and exploitation of lions and other big cats as mascots or props and spare a wild animal a lifetime of suffering. He’s a symbol of support for all lions—both on the field and off.

All the best,

Rachel Stotts

Celebrity Relations Manager


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