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The University of Georgia (UGA) continues to prop up the cruel dog-breeding industry by making unhealthy bulldogs its symbol and subjecting them to the stress and danger of being used as its mascot, Uga.
A recent PETA investigation found that stores that sell English bulldogs like Uga—as well as other dogs bred to have grotesquely flattened faces—refuse to offer a “lifetime warranty” on them due to the serious health issues they inevitably suffer from. English bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, French bulldogs, and other breathing-impaired breeds (BIB) are afflicted with brachycephalic syndrome, which causes labored breathing, snorting, coughing, gagging, retching, vomiting, tiring easily, collapsing, and fainting. In one study, one-fifth of brachycephalic dog guardians reported that their dog had undergone at least one surgery related to having distorted physical features.
Brachycephalic syndrome is the leading cause of death for bulldogs. UGA’s continued use of a live bulldog mascot drives up demand for these dogs who have been sentenced to lives of suffering. It’s irresponsible for the university to affiliate itself in any way with the cruel breeding industry, which not only dooms BIBs and other dogs to a lifetime of health problems but also worsens the animal homelessness crisis.
Instead of putting a deliberately deformed dog into frightening and dangerous situations—at one football game a live dog mascot was almost trampled by a steer—UGA should make the compassionate decision to replace dogs in the role of Uga with a willing human. It’s cruel to shuffle live animals from game to game as if they were sporting equipment. Being forced into a bright stadium full of screaming fans and frightening noise is stressful and terrifying for sensitive animals, including dogs, who are affectionate and loyal and would much rather be at home with loving guardians.
Most universities and professional sports teams now use costumed human mascots, who can engage with fans, pose for pictures, lead cheers, and pump up the crowd. Please contact UGA officials and urge them to replace the school’s live bulldog mascot with a willing human one.