Mascot Bully the Bulldog Takes a Sideline Hit, PETA Calls for Retirement

This time of year, Saturdays mean one thing in our household. College football. We were watching the game when Bully the Bulldog, the mascot for Mississippi State, took a hit from an Auburn player on the sideline. We love dogs even more than we love college football, so my husband and I both let out an “Ooh!” upon impact that was loud enough to pique the interest of our napping dog. Bully reacted, jumping up and back away from the sliding player but, of course, everyone in the building was worried about him, especially Mississippi State fans. He is, after all, a beloved and revered dog.

Bully the Bulldog Was Fine but PETA Wasn’t Having It

Bully, who is Bully XXI and actually named Jak, was whisked off the field faster than most injured players are and was given an exam to check for injuries. MSU tweeted that he had some bruising to his chin and right hind leg but thankfully, he was okay. Being a nationally televised event, Bully’s up close encounter with a running back was seen by millions. Members of PETA took a keen interest in the event and their Senior Director Marta Holmberg sent a letter to Mississippi State urging them to retire Bully. 

“PETA is urging MSU to be a dog’s best friend and end its live-mascot program—and we’ll gladly help find Jak a loving adoptive home where he can live out the rest of his days in peace.”

PETA States that Use of Live Mascots is Inherently Cruel

In her letter Holmberg states that using live mascots is inherently cruel. She suggests that the noise and lights of the stadium and the screaming fans is stressful to animals, especially sensitive ones like dogs. She says that the heat can be deadly, particularly to bulldogs. Of course, she also pointed to the risk of injury with collisions like the one experienced by Jak. The entire letter can be seen here. She wrote,

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.

Mississippi State Has Not Responded to PETA but Fans Have

Mississippi State has not released a response to PETA and only time will tell if they ever decide to officially answer the letter publicly. However, there are tons of memes circulating the internet telling PETA to “Calm Down” and plenty of articles on sports and fan sites that think PETA is overreacting. The Reflector is a publication for Mississippi State University and their sports editor, Hunter Cloud, penned a response defending the use of a live mascot and Bully in particular, who receives “the best imaginable care.” The article says,

While PETA has the right to express concern for animals, they have missed the mark with their claims in the letter that MSU’s bulldog is treated unfairly. Jak can be seen on the sideline with cold water towels to cool him off. He has a routine vet school checkups, and there is even a video of Jak walking on an underwater treadmill.

In regards to PETA’s concerns to Jak overheating at games, the bulldog stayed home for the University of Southern Mississippi game this season because it was so hot. 

Perhaps PETA should also do more homework before they attack a university as their letter states “We’ll gladly help find Jak a loving adoptive home where he can live out the rest of his days in peace,” suggesting that Jak does not have a loving home. 

The only problem with that statement is Jak is not only very well taken care of, but he also has a human family who loves and takes care of him. His mom even has a Twitter where she keeps the general public updated on Jak. Those interested can find her on Twitter at MSU Bully Mom.

Cloud wraps up the letter by stating the PETA is “barking up the wrong tree.”

Our good boy is not going anywhere.”

What do you think? Are live mascots a ‘recipe for disaster’ and ‘inherently cruel’ as PETA says or are they well-loved and protected members of a school family?

Featured Image Screenshot Auburn Tigers on AL YouTube

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