PETA has scolded Kent State University for its new live mascot, Flash, a golden eagle contracted from an animal rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit for use at sporting events, the Daily Kent Stater reports. "Forcing a wild bird into a gymnasium is terrorizing to the animal," said a representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "It is totally unnatural for the bird."
Supporters of the new mascot say that Flash actually serves as an ambassador for the group's conservation goals. "The eagle is disabled; its life in the wild is over," said the director of the nonprofit responsible for Flash. "It can have a new mission."
Surprisingly, not up for debate is the price of the eagle's services: The group, Back to the Wild, received $5,000 upfront and will get $1,000 each time the eagle visits the school. Kent State also pays $750 for each photo session and a $1,000 annual fee.