If there was one thing that everyone in the University of Georgia community can agree on, it’s that Uga is great. The beloved English bulldog is a symbol of the university and perennial fixture of the university’s football games. Even outsiders cannot resist showering the affable icon with endless praise, with Sports Illustrated crowning him the greatest mascot in college football history in August. There might not be a more universally-adored figure in the world today.
It seems, however, that not everyone is pleased with Uga’s role at the university. Following UGA’s game against Texas A&M University, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tweeted a video of Uga huddling in his dog house to avoid the rain and demanded that the university retire him.
PETA’s mission to fight animal cruelty is admirable, and I fully support any measures to take on actual animal abuse. Heck, I became a vegetarian in part out of feeling guilty for killing animals. But claiming that Uga is suffering is simply folly that hurts PETA’s credibility.
The truth is that Uga leads a great life. He’s a pet, but he is pampered far more than any ordinary person. From the looks of it, Charles Seiler, the Uga line owner, goes to great lengths to ensure Uga lives his best life. He bred Que, the current Uga, and the following Uga so that they would not face the same health problems as most English bulldogs.
Seiler gives Uga everything the dog could possibly want. According to CBS News, he has his own room, and he even has a car with his name as the license plate tag. Frankly, that’s the kind of life that most freshmen holed up in a dorm with a roommate can only dream of.
He’s treated well during his time at the university too. For gamedays, he rides in his air-conditioned car from Savannah, Georgia to Athens, where he stays at the Uga Suite. During the “dog walk” before games, he takes a golf cart. While UGA fans are packed in tight in the stands in sweltering heat, Uga can be seen laying on a bag of ice in his air-conditioned dog house. And, after it was announced that the University of Colorado’s mascot Ralphie was retiring, UGA celebrated by giving its favorite canine a slice of pound cake, which he voraciously gobbled down while donning decorative buffalo horns.
Contrary to what PETA’s claims, this dog is not leading a bad life. Seiler and UGA take excellent care of him, and Bulldog fans view him like a king. He brings the university community together while living a life of extreme comfort. When PETA makes silly comments like saying the university should retire Uga, it distracts from the important work that they could be doing to help animals in need. It’s hard to take the organization seriously when it wastes its time trying to create outrage over something as innocent as a mascot. PETA should refocus on fighting for animals in need and leave Uga to enjoy his life.