Wednesday, October 29, 2003

PETA on prowl against Mike V

Leave it to the nutjobs at PETA to use the Roy Horn tiger attack as a platform for pressuring LSU (and Southern) to get rid of their live big cat mascots.

PETA sent "urgent letters" yesterday to the universities' chancellors urging them - in the wake of the Roy Horn attack - to immediately retire the cats to sanctuaries "before similar tragic incidents strike at their schools’ campuses."

Of course, Mike V isn't led around Tiger Stadium on a leash.

Nonetheless, PETA is pleading with the universities to retire the cats -- which "pose the very real risk of attacking trainers, students, or members of the public with virtually no warning."

In its press release about the letters, PETA only mentions in passing the idea that keeping the cats in cages near football stadiums might not be such a nice thing.

And that's a point worthy of debate.

But, no, PETA is looking to keep its post-Roy publicity windfall rolling. There's nothing like a near-fatal attack on a celebrity to increase PETA's profile.

Also, big props to The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) for including an archive photo of Mike V from the day back in 1990 when the cub was introduced to his new home at LSU:

See, although I'm not in this shot, I was actually in the cage with Mike when this photo was taken. The guy at the top right was an LSU PR photographer, and I was a student writer in the PR office at the time. I had ditched a class and was heading out to my car when I saw the crowd at the cage. I talked the photographer into letting me be his "assistant" for the shoot and got to get in the cage and play around with Mike for about 30 minutes.

Only now do I see the very real danger I was in.

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