November 24, 2009
The sudden death of beloved Georgia mascot Uga VII to an apparent heart attack last week opened the floodgates to an outpouring of goodwill for one of the shorter-lived (and least successful, frankly, in terms of the team's on-field performance) reigns in Uga history, including a private memorial service and burial in Sanford Stadium before last Saturday's sobering loss to Kentucky. It also opened up a window for the capable opportunists at PETA, who suggested the Bulldogs forego the eighth in a line of mascots from a family of English bulldogs and turn instead to our old friend, technology, in the form of college football's -- and perhaps the world's -- first robot mascot:
In the wake of the untimely death of the University of Georgia's (UGA) bulldog mascot, Uga VII, PETA has asked the school's athletic director, Damon M. Evans, to replace the mascot with an animatronic dog -- or to rely solely on a costumed mascot -- instead of using another real bulldog. Bulldogs are prone to breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, heart disorders, and other congenital ailments, and acquiring a dog from a breeder perpetuates the animal overpopulation crisis while causing another dog waiting in an animal shelter to be condemned to death.
Say what you will about PETA: They know how to use a headline as a hook: Click to read about the Robot Dog, stay to read about hip dysplasia.
And it's hard to argue with the point, frankly, if your first priority in is to add another drip to the vast tide of the issue, "animal welfare," although their point seems to depend at least in part on the dodgy ethicality of existing as a bulldog in the first place. Obviously, flesh and blood will reign in Georgia for the foreseeable future, but the times, they change: If the animal rights lobby comes back in 50 or 60 years with a hunk of barking metal that occasionally attacks unwitting Auburn players who wander too close, they may have a shot with Uga XXIV.