Tiger’s Cancer Prompts Appeal to LSU: Make Mike VI Its Last Live Mascot

PETA Calls On University to End the Exploitation of Captive Tigers

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Following reports that Mike VI, the sixth tiger Louisiana State University (LSU) has used as a live “mascot,” has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, PETA and LSU Animal Advocates sent a letter to the university today calling for him to be the last live mascot at LSU.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that all captive big cats suffer psychologically when subjected to confinement, discomfort, and stress. LSU further exposes them to bright lights and rowdy crowds at football games.

“People today realize that orcas don’t belong in tanks, elephants don’t belong in circuses, and tigers don’t belong in cages in stadiums,” says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on LSU to honor Mike VI and spare future tigers a lifetime of misery by ending the live-mascot program for good.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s and LSU Animal Advocates’ letter to LSU President Fieldon King Alexander follows.

May 24, 2016

Fieldon King Alexander
President
Louisiana State University

Dear Dr. Alexander,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA, which has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, including tens of thousands in Louisiana, to offer our sympathies about Mike the tiger’s cancer diagnosis. I would also like to request that you consider the following information about how tigers suffer in captivity and make Mike VI Louisiana State University’s (LSU) last live mascot.

Captive big cats (who naturally shun human contact) are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. They live in perpetual states of confinement, discomfort, and stress and, at LSU games, are subjected to a constant barrage of disorienting lights and activity. They often become despondent and develop neurotic and self-destructive types of behavior, including pacing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation. Tigers are particularly unsuited to captivity because they require large areas to roam and opportunities to swim and climb. Even under the best of care, a tiger’s most basic instincts are thwarted in captivity, and continuing to use live animals as mascots perpetuates the cruel notion that sensitive, complex wild animals should be caged and put on display like championship trophies.

People go to LSU football games because they want to see top college athletes playing the best football in the country, not because there’s a caged tiger sitting on the sidelines. I hope you agree that it’s time to recognize society’s growing distaste for animal exhibition and bring a new tradition to LSU of using only willing, costumed human mascots. Orcas don’t belong in tanks, elephants don’t belong in the circus, and tigers do not belong in stadiums. In his sickly condition, Mike VI should not be wheeled out to games this coming season. Generations of tigers have given LSU everything they have—isn’t it time for LSU to give something back? We hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

Lewis Crary
Captive Wildlife Specialist
Captive Animal Law Enforcement | PETA Foundation

Cheyenne Fouts
Secretary and Event Coordinator | LSU Animal Advocates

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