Thousands of people have signed an online petition asking LSU to release Mike the Tiger and end its longstanding tradition of keeping a live mascot on campus.

According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the effort is being pushed by a California-based group Care2. The group’s effort started two weeks ago and since then has racked up more than 35,000 signatures.

“We believe that animals shouldn’t be used as entertainment, they aren’t here for our amusement,” Rebecca Gerber of Care2 said. “Even treated very kindly, it’s easier to see them as here entertainment, disposable props for football … We’re trying to stop that message completely.”

LSU media relations director Ernie Ballard III told the Advocate that the university does not support the for-profit breeding of tigers.

“By providing a home for a tiger that needs one, LSU hopes to raise awareness about the problem of irresponsible breeding and the plight of tigers kept illegally and/or inappropriately in captivity in the U.S.,” Ballard said.

Click here to read more on the Baton Rouge Advocate’s website.