BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Two animal rights groups are asking that Louisiana State University stop using captive tigers as mascots a day after LSU said its mascot was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
News outlets report People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and LSU Animal Advocates wrote in a letter Tuesday to LSU President F. King Alexander that Mike VI shouldn't be brought out to games this coming season due to his condition.
"People go to LSU football games because they want to see top college athletes playing the best football in the country, not because there's a caged tiger sitting on the sidelines," said the letter signed by Lewis Crary, of PETA, and Cheyenne Fouts, an LSU animal advocate. "Orcas don't belong in tanks, elephants don't belong in the circus, and tigers do not belong in stadiums. In his sickly condition, Mike VI should not be wheeled out to games this coming season."
LSU announced Monday that Mike VI was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma and has a tumor on its face.
LSU, however, lets Mike decide whether he will attend the football games, and he has received national attention for being less willing to do so than his predecessors. Mike can decline to go to the games if he doesn't enter his mobile carrier.
Mike attended one game in 2015 and none in 2014.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said in response to the letter that LSU is focusing on Mike's recovery.