While the announcement that Boston College would bring back a live eagle mascot during home football games was met with near universal praise from fans -- and Grant, who's really, really excited about it -- not everyone is happy about this development. The animal rights organization PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has reached out to the school in hopes of discussing the school's decision to bring back the yet-to-be-named mascot.
The organization's stance is that no animal should be forced to represent a school at live sporting events where thousands of people are screaming and cheering, and loud music and the blare of speakers are used.
"No animal should be subjected to the strange environment, and birds can become disoriented in situations like that and it can be very scary for them," she said. "PETA is reaching out to the school as we do with all colleges and professional sports teams who consider using live animals as their mascots."
One of my reservations about the idea of a live mascot was that the school doesn't have the infrastructure in place to care for such an animal. Auburn has had live eagles at football games continuously since the 1960s, but the school also has a top ranked College of Veterinary Medicine, where the eagles have been cared for in the past. While BC doesn't have a similar college, the school's partnership with Zoo New England solves that issue.
Boston College is hardly alone having a live animal mascot roaming the sidelines at football games. By my count, more than 25 Football Bowl Subdivision teams have at least one live animal mascot with several birds among them, including Air Force (falcon), Auburn (golden and bald eagles), Florida Atlantic (burrowing owl) and South Carolina (rooster).
Like Bill, I hope that the school continues with its plan to renew an old tradition. I would hate to see this come to protests, but remain confident that Zoo New England can continue to safely handle the bird at Boston College home football games.