The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) continues to protest Boston College's decision to return a live eagle mascot to the Alumni Stadium sidelines. On Monday, the organization wrote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting the agency investigate Boston College's use of a live eagle at football games.
PETA claims that the school's use of a live bald eagle mascot violates the federal federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts.
"These laws prohibit possessing, transporting, harassing, and disturbing these reclusive wild animals. And nothing harasses and disturbs sensitive eagles like the cacophony of a football stadium filled with shouting fans, air horns, marching bands, and amplified sound systems.
Under such conditions, birds easily become stressed, disoriented, panicked-and injured."
The animal rights organization cites incidents involving the ECHL's California Condors, Auburn Tigers football and Colombian soccer club Junior de Barranquilla as examples of what can go wrong with live bird mascots at sporting events.
"Carting an eagle back and forth and subjecting the animal to a boisterous and deafening football crowd for hours at a time has nothing to do with school spirit and everything to do with disregarding the basic protections that these birds are afforded under federal law," says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. "Boston College just flunked Ethics 101 by teaching students that it's fine to exploit, disrespect, and terrify animals-while flouting the law."
Though PETA is pushing for a federal investigation, Boston College officials claim that the school is not in violation of the law. BC spokesman Jack Dunn made a statement to Boston magazine via email:
"During the two games this season, experienced handlers from Zoo New England and the World Bird Sanctuary have made presentations to our fans regarding the importance of wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species. Contrary to assertions from PETA, no part of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, or Migratory Bird Act, was ever violated. The World Bird Sanctuary has both federal and state permits to have the eagle in its possession and to conduct the educational display. The safety and wellbeing of the eagle remains the priority of all groups involved."
PETA reached out to AD Brad Bates but has yet to receive a response. The saga continues ...
Boston College's live eagle mascot will make its third appearance of the season this Saturday as the Eagles take on Florida State at 3:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2. Voting remains open for the name of the yet-to-be-named eagle. The winning name will be announced on Saturday.