PETA Wants NCAA Ban on Gamecock Mascot

In August, the National Collegiate Athletic Association issued a report ruling putting restrictions on tournament appearances by teams that continue to use Native American mascots. That as the perfect opportunity, of course, for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to step in and ask the NCAA to do the same thing to some universities that have animal mascots.

Specifically, PETA requested that the NCAA enact the same sort of sanctions against Jacksonville State and the University of South California — both schools use Gamecocks as their mascot.

PETA’s Dan Shannon was quoted by The Birmingham News as saying,

Our position is that since cockfighting is illegal in 48 states in this country and a felony in South Carolina — you go to jail, period — we don’t think schools should be promoting this illegal act with their mascots. Our problem with Gamecocks is it promotes cockfighting. That’s not only illegal, but tremendously cruel to the animals involved. We’ve been in contact with the presidents of these universities for several years. We’ve exchanged polite letters back and forth, very polite and respectful, but they have chosen not to change their names. With the NCAA decision about Native American nicknames, we hope that might spur them on — no pun intended — to adopt a nickname more respectful to animals.

PETA’s Allison Ezell, who sent a letter to NCAA president Myles Brand, said the group does not object to other animal mascots such as the Oregon Ducks or Baylor Bears which, “highlight the power and beauty in the natural world.”


PETA asks NCAA to ban Gamecocks nickname. Mike Perrin, The Birmingham News, August 12, 2005.

PETA asks USC to change nickname. The State.Com (University of Southern Carolina student newspaper), August 12, 2005.

Iams to End Outside Animal Tests and Expand Its Own Internal Animal Testing Facilities

Iams, which has been targeted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over conditions at testing labs it contracts to, announced in October that within two years it would end all testing contracts without outside laboratories. Instead, the pet food company will more than double its own animal testing facilities from 350 cats and dogs to more than 800 cats and dogs by the end of 2005.

That represents a victory of sorts for PETA which had included among its demands that Iams end all contracted animal testing, but its a bit of a pyrrhic one. The animal rights organization had been able to gain a lot of publicity on the backs of the contracted labs, especially when Iams ended up funding an animal welfare specialist at a Missouri lab who turned out to be a PETA mole. Now that Iams is essentially going to do the same amount of testing internally, it should prove more difficult for PETA to get those attention grabbing headlines.

PETA’s Mary Beth Sweetland said of the change,

I think Iams has to prove itself to us. Yes, this is part of what PETA wants. But that said, Iams has lied to us in the past. The question is, is Iams going to commit to ending testing on all animals? The expansion of that Dayton facility means more testing.

PETA sponsored a resolution at the annual shareholder meeting of Procter & Gamble, which owns Iams, calling on Iams to end all animal testing, but the measure was overwhelmingly defeated.

PETA’s Allison Ezell told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “P&G should make Iams move out of the laboratory completely, because it’s the right thing to do.”


Iams division to change animal testing practices. Associated Press, October 7, 2004.

Iams bringing animal tests inside. Cliff Peale, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 7, 2004.

Lafley to stockholders: Few problems at P&G. Cliff Peale, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 13, 2004.

This Is Your Brain on PETA Press Releases

On April 22, 2004, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a press release that began with this,

El Monte, Calif. — In recognition of World Week for Animals in Laboratories, PETA members, joined by barking canine companions and waving signs that read, “Iams: Stop Torturing Animals,” will hold a “snarl-in” in El Monte in an effort to persuade people to leave Iams pet food on store shelves until the company stops conducting tests on animals in laboratories. The protest is part of PETAÂ’s international campaign against Dayton, Ohio-based Iams, which was launched last summer after years of failed negotiations:

Date: Friday, April 23
Time: 12 noon
Place: House of Pets, 3836 N. Peck St., at Ramona intersection

There was just one slight problem — according to the owner of the House of Pets, her store has never carried Iams products.

Rather than admit that PETA made a mistake (like that doesn’t happen constantly), PETA spokeswoman Allison Ezell tried to spin the group’s protest when contacted by the Pasadena Star News. According to the Star News, Ezell told its reporter that “the snarl-in would be a positive event in support of the store.”


PETA to unleash activists in protest. Jason Kosareff, Pasadena Star News, April 22, 2004.

PETA Holds “Snarl-In” In El Monte. Jason Kosareff, Pasadena Star News, April 22, 2004.