This past Thursday, Uga VII, the four-year-old mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs, passed away from an apparent heart attack.
Based on the outrage dog lovers expressed when Michael Vick was reinstated by the NFL, I was expecting a public outcry demanding the banning of animal mascots at college sporting events. However, all I heard was statements of what a loss it was for University of Georgia fans everywhere.
An animal dies, and people feel bad for the humans who will no longer see a dog sit in the hot sun for at least three hours—it makes perfect sense to me.
There is no proof that the heart attack was brought on by the dog attending football games, but the fact remains that the use of animals at college football games is a clear example of animal cruelty.
The various Ugas may travel in air conditioned dog houses and sit on bags of ice during games, but the fact remains that the English Bulldog is a breed that is susceptible to heat stroke.
I doubt any of the Ugas were asked if they wanted to be a mascot for a football team. If I was a bulldog, I may want to root for Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, or Mississippi State, but certainly I would despise cheering for Georgia.
Not only is the practice of having live creatures at football games bad for the animal, is also dangerous for people. In 1996, Uga V attacked Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker. The first time Ralphie, a buffalo, was used at a Colorado football game, she broke free from her harness and trampled one of her handlers.
If live animals are not seen at baseball or soccer games, there is certainly no need for them at football games. You don't see them at college basketball games, although their presence would force ball boys to do a better job of wiping sweat off the floor if they also had to clean up animal excrement.
When I want to see animals parading around, I go to a zoo, not a football game.
It is not only in college football that so-called animal lovers turn a "blind eye" to animal cruelty in sports.
The thump created by Eight Belles, the 2008 runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, falling to the ground after breaking both front ankles in the race was much louder than the minuscule displays of protest that occurred afterwards.
In 2007, racetracks in California and New York combined to average than one thoroughbred death for every day of the year. Very few people seem to be bothered by the fact that a thoroughbred is forced to race at high speeds although their bones are thinner than most breeds.
There is not much outrage today about giving horses anabolic steroids just like there was not much concern in the 70's and 80's over doping them to hide sore limbs on the day of a race.
I believe there wasn't anyone demanding the abolishment of polo when 21 horses died in Wellington, FL in April 2009 because a dietary supplement they were given was improperly mixed. There is no time to allow horses to recover naturally after vigorous exercise when they are so desperately needed for the next match.
Thousands of greyhounds used in racing are killed each year, and there are not enough homes available for all of those discarded when they are no longer fast enough. Where were the protests in 2002 when the remains of approximately 3,000 greyhounds from Florida racetracks were discovered on the property of a former racetrack security guard who had been “retiring” unwanted greyhounds with a rifle for more than 40 years?
At least three dogs died in each of the last two Iditarod Trail Sled Dog events. In August of this year, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo was accused of refusing to give medical care to its injured animals.
It is very confusing trying to figure out why dog fighting is against the law, but other forms of animal cruelty are allowed to occur without much protest.
I guess there isn't enough money or entertainment involved in dog fighting to turn it into a legitimate sport. Long-standing traditions have to continue although they are based on ignorance and stupidity.
The people against Vick want you to believe that their anger towards him is because they are sensitive to the poor treatment of animals while the truth is that the outrage is actually more deeply rooted in the enviousness they have for athletes and the money they make.
The reality is that if people are so against animal cruelty, horseracing, dogracing, polo, and other forms of animal sacrifice for entertainment purposes would have been banned by this point in time.
I have a feeling that because of the love affair fans have with college football, that if a person died from heat exhaustion from wearing an animal costume, it would be considered mainly as a tragic loss for the fans of that particular school.