End the Use of Live Owl as University Mascot

Target: Gregory Anderson, Dean of Temple University

Goal: Discontinue use of the live owl named Stella as your mascot.

Stella the great horned owl is a mascot for Temple University and is confined to a cage during every football game where she is purely used for the sake of spectacle and display. She resides at the Elmwood Park Zoo when not forced to attend games. This majestic winged creature is confined to a cage for hours at a time just so Temple University can say that they have an owl for a mascot.

Animals are not meant to live in captivity, especially not flying creatures such as birds. Yet this beautiful owl lives its life in captivity so that it can gawked at and screamed to by rowdy sports fans. Being moved from one habitat to another multiple times a month could possibly have a negative effect on Stella. Also with her hypersensitive hearing, the constant yelling of sports fans most likely has a detrimental impact on Stella’s emotional and psychological well-being. There is no good that can come out of keeping an animal in captivity like that.

While it is important for sports teams to have a mascot in order to symbolize the personal spirit of their home team, there is a plethora of different options available, none of which should include the usage of live animals. What ever happened to big animal suits that danced around the field and made everyone laughed? That is surely a better option than torturing a helpless owl for hours at a time and several times a month.


Dear Dean Anderson,

You have been using a live owl as your mascot since 2013, a practice that was considered outdated and archaic, even back then. The sole purpose of your live animal mascot is to gain an extra “ooh” and “ahhh” from the crowds at your events, nothing more, nothing less. Keeping an animal in captivity purely for shock value and ticket sales is not only inhumane, but it’s torture.

The university’s website mentions that Stella enjoys many wildlife activities that she can no longer enjoy because of her life in captivity. Every time you have a game, you put that owl through so much trauma that there’s no doubt its brain is permanently rewired due to the shear amount of physical and mental stress inflicted upon it. There is nothing ethical, courageous, or entertaining about using a live animal, especially a winged one, as your school’s mascot.

It is essential that you end the use of live animals as your mascot. It is time to release Stella from her duties as the mascot of Temple and allow her to live in a habitat that’s closer to her natural home.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Temple University

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