The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals do a lot of great things to expose animal cruelty around the world, while simultaneously educating the public on the preservation of species everywhere. Good for them and that mission. Now, I don't personally know anyone who works for PETA, but if you do, could you let them know that trashing live mascots in the sports world is getting really, really, really, really old? Seriously, LSU has a Tiger in a very expensive enclosure, and we're upset when Uga is asleep in his doghouse?
But, after Georgia became the eighth school to win back-to-back national championships, following the Dawgs beatdown of TCU in the college football playoff finale, PETA's Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman decided to go back-to-back as well.
PETA Demands Georgia's Uga Retire
It was pouring rain in Athens when CBS Sports captured Uga X, the Georgia Bulldogs' iconic mascot, hanging out in his air-conditioned dog house on the sidelines of Sanford Stadium during Georgia's win over Texas A&M in 2019. Everyone was trying to stay dry, including that white English bulldog named Que. And in that moment, PETA felt the need to strike, once again condemning a live mascot tradition that first began in 1956, when then-head coach Wally Reed asked the Seiler family permission to use their dogs as mascots for the school.
In a tweet, the animal rights organization attacked the University of Georgia's use of a live mascot and included video of Uga X staying dry in his dog house.
HE LOOKS MISERABLE!
No dog deserves to be packed up, carted from state to state, and paraded in front of a stadium full of screaming fans.
— PETA (@peta) November 25, 2019
This isn't the first time, and surely won't be the last, that PETA comes after Georgia's beloved bulldog. After Texas mascot Bevo XV lost his cool, broke through his barricade, and startled Uga X during the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl between Georgia and the University of Texas Longhorns, PETA demanded both the longhorn steer and bulldog retire. Neither mascot was reportedly injured in the scary incident.
Time and again, PETA calls out live mascots any chance they get. They condemned Mississippi State's Jax. They condemned Oklahoma's horse-drawn Sooner Schooner. They condemned Colorado's Ralphie program. That was just over a span of two months. Even as far back as 2001, PETA was trying to get South Carolina to drop their Gamecocks monicker. Wait until they hear about the "Cock Commander" saga.
What PETA didn't point out, however, is that Uga X and Reveille IX — the long-time mascot of the Texas A&M Aggies — met just hours before and had an awesome, little doggy date prior to that college football kickoff.
Met my friend Uga X today before kickoff! He showed me around his stadium and even let me see his doghouse!
Thank you for being such a good host, friend!!! ??? pic.twitter.com/YYG0TCN0P8
— Reveille X (@reveille) November 23, 2019
PETA's Second Attempt at Getting Georgia's Uga to Retire
Peta's second attempt appeared to repeat the same game plan as their last attempt. ""As the back-to-back national champion, can't UGA find it in its heart to honestly examine the impact of its promotion of deformed dogs and call time on its outdated, live-animal mascot program?" PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement following the Dawgs' victory over TCU. "PETA is calling on [Georgia President] Jere Morehead to be a peach and replace poor Uga with a human mascot who can support the team in a winning way."
There's asking a school to retire a mascot, and then there's bringing up the "promotion of deformed dog," bringing up other breathing-impaired breeds, like bulldogs and pugs.
Georgia's athletic director Josh Brooks swiftly declined PETA's repeat request.
"We are proud of our beloved mascot and grateful for the excellent care provided by Uga's devoted owners, the Seiler family," Brooks said in a statement. Case closed.
Live mascots are treated like royalty and receive an incredible life during and after game day. It's a shame these incredible traditions and pillars of college athletics are condemned over and over, but no matter how hard PETA tries, it seems impossible that live animal mascots will ever not make public appearances and be an integral part of sports traditions everywhere.
Every dog I see on the street, my heart races with the chance to bend down and dish out a belly rub. Millions of sports fans treat animals with that kind of respect, especially college mascots. Alabama doesn't employ an elephant to give out rides during halftime. And the Atlanta Falcons don't send a live bird onto the field to snag french fries from opposing fans. Dogs are just infinitely cooler than any other mascot, and Uga lights up any room he enters. I doubt a weird human mascot would ever bring that kind of joy to a fanbase.
This post was originally published on November 26, 2019, but now is a good time to remind Georgia fans Uga isn't going anywhere.
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