Lion’s Death at UNA Prompts Offer to Help Retire Her Brother

PETA Encourages School to End Its Live-Animal Mascot Program

For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Florence, Ala. – Following the recent death of Una, a lion who was used as a mascot (photos and video available) by the University of North Alabama (UNA), PETA sent UNA President Kenneth D. Kitts a letter today offering both condolences and assistance in placing Una’s surviving brother, Leo III, in an accredited sanctuary.

“PETA is eager to help Una’s brother live out the rest of his days in a vast habitat, with a chance to be surrounded by other lions,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “Retiring Leo and ending the live-animal mascot program would show enormous respect for lions—something UNA could take pride in.”

PETA notes that the massively popular series Tiger King has shown audiences how big cats suffer when used for entertainment. Lions, the most social of the big cats, spend their days foraging and actively defending large territories. Since he was brought to UNA as a cub, Leo III has never had the opportunity to do these things, and with Una’s passing, he faces living the remainder of his life in solitary confinement.

Numerous colleges and universities—including Cornell University, the University of California–Los Angeles, Brown University, and the University of Memphis—have swapped live-animal mascots for crowd-pleasing costumed humans.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind