In the wake of the untimely death of the University of Georgia's (UGA) bulldog mascot, Uga VII, PETA has asked the school's athletic director, Damon M. Evans, to replace the mascot with an animatronic dog--or to rely solely on a costumed mascot--instead of using another real bulldog.
Bulldogs are prone to breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, heart disorders, and other congenital ailments, and acquiring a dog from a breeder perpetuates the animal overpopulation crisis while causing another dog waiting in an animal shelter to be condemned to death.
"It is time for the university to put an end to the cycle of suffering endured by dogs who are brought into the world solely to represent the school's 'brand'," says PETA Assistant Director Kristie Phelps. "By choosing a humane alternative to the use of live animals as school mascots, UGA can show that compassion always wins."
PETA's letter to University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans:
Dear Mr. Evans:
As you know, PETA wrote to you last year about the death of Uga VI with a request that his successor, Uga VII, come from a local animal shelter or rescue and be neutered. We are sad to hear of Uga VII's death. In his memory, we are asking you today to honor Uga VII by choosing an animatronic or solely use a costumed mascot to represent the Georgia Bulldogs in the future. There is new information you may want to know:
Purebred dogs are prone to countless congenital ailments from years of inbreeding—every breeder perpetuates these genetic problems for future generations with each litter. Bulldogs are especially predisposed to breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, and, as shown in the Uga lineage, heart disorders. After learning about the debilitating heath problems that plague many purebred dogs, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) stopped televising the Kennel Club's Crufts dog show. The BBC said, "We need to be confident the measures being taken now and planned for the future are effective in addressing the issues raised about the health of some pedigree dogs before we return to broadcasting the event." However, the Kennel Club insisted that it is "unable to agree to these demands."
Like other dogs, bulldogs love to run and play, but their compromised respiratory system causes these playful animals to struggle for breath. Poor ventilation and hot or humid weather can be deadly for a purebred bulldog. This is made even more difficult for a bulldog who must travel frequently.
UGA can send a strong message to alumni, students, staff, and football fans that the safety and well-being of all team members is paramount. By choosing a humane alternative to live animals for a Georgia Bulldogs mascot, you can show that traditions can be modified and celebrated to reflect the sentiments of the present day.
Animals in Entertainment Specialist