On Tuesday October 11, LSU’s mascot—the tiger known as Mike VI, passed away from a rare and terminal cancer. After his death, PETA asked LSU to stop their use of a living mascot, and this was not the first time that they’ve asked. PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, following the death of Mike VI, has released a statement in opposition to the university’s continued use of a live animal mascot.
"This sad day could mark a kind new beginning for LSU, where sensitive, intelligent tigers have been reduced to game-day props for decades," PETA said in a statement as reported by WBRZ. "PETA is calling on the university to honor Mike VI's legacy by making him the last live mascot to be locked up in captivity and paraded around an unruly stadium. The last thing LSU should do is condemn yet another tiger to a lifetime of exploitation."
LSU does not see a problem with their practice, and they provide a tiger habitat with more than 15,000 square feet of space, a pool, night house and viewing area for visitors. And unfortunately for PETA and many other animal rights activists, it has already been made clear by LSU that even before Mike’s death, the search for the mascot's replacement was already underway. Days before Mike died, his veterinarian, Dr. David Baker, was careful to note in a press conference that he and other doctors have “learned [a lot] about tigers, the form of cancer that led to his death and how LSU students are better ‘global citizens’ because of what they learn about tigers through seeing one on a regular basis.”