The college sports world received some sad news Monday when it was announced that LSU mascot Mike the Tiger has been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor. Mike is slated to receive treatment for the condition not at LSU's well-regarded veterinary school but instead at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, a well-regarded cancer treatment facility in Baton Rouge whose patients are usually of the two legged variety.
Mike's prognosis with the treatment isn't great; he's unlikely to survive more than a year or two. Without the treatment things would be decidedly more grim, likely a matter of a couple of months.
It might all seem like a lot of effort to prolong the life of a tiger that may or may not be aware there's anything wrong with him. But as all of us who have ever truly loved a pet can attest, you do what you can to extend their quality lives. Do not tell this to the people from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are once again using any story involving a live mascot to poo-poo the concept of live mascots.
It is rank opportunism, and it isn't new. Believe me when I tell you that no one carbon copies a press release quite like PETA. I can assure you that every newspaper in every parish in Louisiana got a copy of this little number.
Admittedly, I live a pretty anthropocentric lifestyle. I like to eat meat, preferably smoked over an open fire just like my six-hundred fiftieth great-grandfather did it. I've been known to hide in the woods and wait for innocent little deer to wander by so I could shoot them dead as a doornail. So admittedly I might not be the target audience here.
That being said, I've seen the national zoo-quality enclosure in which Mike the Tiger lives and seen the veterinary care the big fella gets, and I think PETA's barking up the wrong tree here. If you're going to take shameless advantage of a situation, at least make sure it's one that proves your point. There are actual animals who are not receiving world-class medical care and who aren't at the center of regional educational programs who could actually use some help. Dogs coming out of shabby puppy mills. Chickens exploited for cockfighting. PETA should probably concentrate on these real battles rather than attempting to shoehorn itself into the picture on this one. Until later . . .