From PETA’s latest press release :

This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter to Louisiana State University (LSU) Chancellor Sean O™Keefe urging him to permanently scratch live animal mascots from the LSU team rosters and use only humans in tiger costumes instead. PETA™s letter comes in the wake of the death of Mike V, the school™s Bengal tiger mascot, who died last Friday of complications from surgery. Mike was 17 years old. PETA points out that according to wildlife experts, tigers and other large carnivores suffer extremely in captivity because they are denied the opportunity to engage in many behaviors that are natural and important to them. PETA also reminds O™Keefe that replacing Mike with another tiger would mean taking a cub from his mother months before the two would normally part, causing both mother and cub to suffer severe stress and trauma.

“Most college teams”and all major professional teams”use human mascots, who are far more capable of interacting with fans than scared animals are,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “The biggest tribute that LSU could pay to Mike would be to make sure that no more of these magnificent animals are forced to live a life of deprivation just to make a public appearance a few days a year.”

Though you might not be down with PETA’s tactics or philosophy, no one can dispute Ms. Leahy’s claim that human mascots are far more capable of interacting with fans.