Despite emergency veterinary care, an owl who was used as the mascot of Columbian football team Junior de Barranquilla died after Luis Moreno, a member of a visiting team, viciously kicked the bird after the dazed owl—who had already been hit by a ball—wandered out onto the field. Outraged fans watched in horror and disbelief and showered Moreno with cries of "Murderer!" He was escorted from the stadium by guards.
Animals used as team mascots are always the "losers." Housed in cramped, barren cages and denied everything that is natural and important to them, animal mascots often meet very grim ends. A ram used by the University of North Carolina was gutted—his throat was cut and his shoulder was cut off—and at Texas Tech, three horse mascots were killed over a 10-year period.
PETA has appealed to Louisiana State University to stop hauling out a tiger in front of tens of thousands of screaming football fans and asked Baylor University to stop ripping bear cubs from their mothers to become "Baylor bears." You can help by urging schools that are still putting animals at risk to retire their mascots for good.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor