Like most extensions of this presidential administration, PETA has faded into the far corners of everyone's mind until they do something outrageous to make their way back into the public purview again. In this week's edition of this endless cycle of news, the organization released a press release on Tuesday explaining why they've requested Mississippi State retire their Bully the bulldog mascot, currently played by Jak the bulldog.
In case you missed it, Mississippi State faced off against Auburn last weekend. During the game, Auburn running back Jatarvious Whitlow was tackled out of bounds and ended up colliding with Jak the bulldog. Both parties glared at each other as the former got off the ground. Bully was ultimately fine, and that was the end of it.
Until, of course, it wasn't. PETA sent a letter to Mississippi State president Dr. Mark Keenum pleading for the school to retire their mascot and not to use a live animal for mascot purposes in the future. No point in copying over the full letter, but here are the relevant quotes:
I'm writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide. Concerned citizens are contacting us about an incident in which a football player apparently collided with Jak, Mississippi State's live bulldog mascot, during the September 28 game against Auburn University.
In light of this close call—which could easily have left Jak severely injured or even dead—as well as the cruelty inherent in using living beings as "mascots," I urge you to retire Jak and pledge not to use live animals in the future.
They later went on to cite last year's Sugar Bowl incident where the Longhorns mascot broke out of its pen and charged Georgia's own bulldog mascot, which is a fair argument against using large animals, at the very least, as mascots. They also outlined the various health concerns that come along with bringing a dog into a big stadium, and concluded with this:
Public opinion has turned against using animals for "entertainment," and most universities and professional sports teams have switched to using costumed human mascots instead of real animals. Unlike animals, human mascots can lead cheers, interact with the crowd, and pump up the team—all willingly.
May we please have your assurance that you will bring Mississippi State into the 21st century by giving Jak the retirement he deserves and pledging not to use real animals as mascots? Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
PETA breaking down the benefits of a human mascot is not something I expected to read in the year 2019, but here we are. What a world. You can take away whatever you'd like from this, but I will say that PETA should probably be doing something more... important? The livelihood of Jak the bulldog is paramount, but there's quite a lot going outside of the realm of the NCAA.
Anywho, we'll keep an eye on this riveting saga.