New Year, New Mascot? PETA Seeks Bevo’s Retirement

Call for End to University's Live-Mascot Program Comes After Dangerous Incident at Sugar Bowl

For Immediate Release:
January 3, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Austin, Texas – After Bevo XV, a steer used as a mascot by the University of Texas at Austin, charged Uga X, a dog used as a mascot by the University of Georgia, at the Sugar Bowl, PETA has sent letters urging both schools to end their use of live-animal mascots.

“It’s indefensible to subject animals to the stress of being packed up, carted from state to state, and paraded in front of a stadium full of screaming fans,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “It’s no surprise that a skittish steer would react to a perceived threat by charging, and PETA is calling on the University of Texas and the University of Georgia to learn from this dangerous incident, retire their live-animal mascots, and stick to the talented costumed mascots who can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves follows.

January 2, 2019

Gregory L. Fenves, President

The University of Texas at Austin

Dear President Fenves,

In light of the close call at yesterday’s Allstate Sugar Bowl—in which Bevo apparently broke out of his enclosure and charged at Uga the bulldog, nearly trampling him—I urge you to retire Bevo and pledge not to use live-animal mascots in the future.

As a University of Texas alumnus, I’m disappointed that my alma mater is one of the few schools that still drags live animals to sporting events. Bevo deserves to spend his days grazing with his herdmates, not being shuffled from game to game like a piece of sporting equipment. Being forced into a stadium full of bright lights, screaming fans, and frightening noises is stressful—even terrifying—for sensitive, intelligent animals like longhorns, and this stress could cause Bevo to react in ways that might result in injury to himself or others, as we saw this week.

It’s never been clearer that the public is against using animals as props and forcing them to perform—as evidenced by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ closure and SeaWorld’s decision to end its orca-breeding program. Recognizing this as well as the cruelty inherent in using living beings as mascots, many schools have retired their animal mascots.

Most universities and professional sports teams use costumed human mascots instead of real animals. They can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team—all things that a frightened animal can’t do. In light of Tuesday’s near-miss, I urge you to join them by retiring Bevo and pledging not to use real animals as mascots.

Sincerely,

Neel Parekh

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

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“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