Column: PETA, keep your paws off Bully

Cristil’s Golden Prince, aka Jak, looks on at a football game. MSU has not released an official comment in response to PETA’s letter about Bully.

This is preaching to the choir here at Mississippi State University, but this message is for the world when it comes to defending our bulldog, Cristil’s Golden Prince. 

On Oct. 1, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote a letter to MSU president Dr. Mark E. Keenum and released a press release expressing concern for the live mascot Bully XXI, lovingly known as Jak, urging the MSU to retire the live mascot. 

The reason behind the letter came from an incident in the football game played against Auburn University, where a play resulted in an Auburn player being knocked out of bounds and rolling into Jak. A play that happens several times in a game found Jak in the wrong place at the wrong time. He suffered bruising to the chin and leg. 

However, this is the first incident in recent memory where Jak was on the receiving end of such collision.  In the past two years, there have been hundreds of athletic events and Jak has been on the sidelines of games without incident. 

While PETA has the right to express concern for animals, they have missed the mark with their claims in the letter that MSU’s bulldog is treated unfairly. Jak can be seen on the sideline with cold water towels to cool him off. He has a routine vet school checkups, and there is even a video of Jak walking on an underwater treadmill

In regards to PETA’s concerns to Jak overheating at games, the bulldog stayed home for the University of Southern Mississippi game this season because it was so hot. 

Perhaps PETA should also do more homework before they attack a university as their letter states “We’ll gladly help find Jak a loving adoptive home where he can live out the rest of his days in peace,” suggesting that Jak does not have a loving home. 

The only problem with that statement is Jak is not only very well taken care of, but he also has a human family who loves and takes care of him. His mom even has a Twitter where she keeps the general public updated on Jak. Those interested can find her on Twitter at MSU Bully Mom.

While the University has refused to comment on the matter, maybe to let the storm roll through or maybe because the letter has no real authority and therefore does not need addressing, it would be rather unfair to not speak out on behalf of Jak. 

If you have ever seen Jak on the sidelines or around people, he is typically smiling, a sight that can be a comfort to fans when the Dawgs lose or exciting when the Dawgs win. Jak is a happy bulldog who is loved by the Maroon and White family and also receives the best care imaginable.  

The university will not say it officially, but I think I can summarize what the MSU family is thinking. 

PETA, you are barking up the wrong tree. I am sure there are some other bones you could pick with, perhaps a school just north of us who forces a shark to walk around on land. Our good boy is not going anywhere. 

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