APRIL FOOLS’: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fools’ Day edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious in its reporting.
The newly-established Hopkins People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) chapter has officially named their current mascot, Wise-Owl, as next year’s chapter president. Wise-Owl officially joined the chapter as a representative of the North American barn owl population throughout PETA’s protests last fall.
Representatives of the organization have held numerous protests against the Mysore Lab, a lab that studies barn owls, voicing that they believe that his research “scrambles owls’ brains” and is an abuse of power on nonconsenting owls. Despite their consistent protesting, their primary goal — the immediate defunding of the lab — has yet to be achieved. After their 13th protest, it became clear to the chapter that drastic action must be taken to end owl cruelty at Hopkins.
Having humans protest on behalf of animals was a great start, but PETA representatives felt that they needed the direct expertise of living barn owls in order to further their goals. A unanimous decision was reached to bring in an owl to represent the victims of the Mysore Lab, the only question being which owl would be up for the task.
In an interview with The News-Letter, current Chair of Protest Pita Breadslaps spoke about how Wise-Owl was first introduced to the chapter.
“My little brother sent me a TikTok of a homeless barn owl dancing and doing performances in Inner Harbor for loose change,“ they said. “It only took two pirouettes before I was sold. I immediately drove around Inner Harbor yelling ‘whooo... whoooo’ until he followed.”
What she didn’t expect, however, was the sheer number of owls who would register for the position. Breadslaps estimates that approximately 47 owls submitted applications to become the mascot for the 2022–2023 school year.
In response, the PETA chapter came up with a strict hiring and interview process for the position. Applicants had to demonstrate the ability to defecate (or withhold from defecating) on command, fly at a minimum of 15 miles per hour and perform basic reading and writing tests.
Wise-Owl passed with flying colors, expressing his excitement for the role.
“Whooooooo... WHOOOOOOO... Whom... hoot hoot,“ he said.
[Translation: “It is a great honor to be considered for the 2022–2023 mascot position. I am confident that my passion for animal rights will make me an efficient and invaluable member of the team.”]
During his time as a representative for the barn owls, his efforts led to a significant partial divestment of $69,420 from the Mysore Lab. It was after this major success that Owl decided to run for the upcoming presidential position.
Current Vice President Annie Malover explained the importance of owl representation within PETA’s leadership.
“I had been trying to convince him to run for a while now. Advocating for animal rights is one thing, but giving them the opportunity to enter positions of power is the only way real change can occur,” Malover said. “By having an owl as next year’s president, we are confident we can shut down the Mysore Lab once and for all.”
Wise-Owl stands as a testimony that the “underdogs” still have a chance, even among multimillion-dollar organizations. He will officially transition into his position starting on April 2 and will hopefully be up for reelection in March of 2024.
In addition to the divestment of the Mysore Lab, Wise-Owl strives to improve the overall living conditions of owls in Baltimore. Wise-Owl shared a little about his next big project exclusively in an interview with The News-Letter.
“WHOO WHOOOOOO hoot hoot whoooooooo who whoo hoot who hoot,“ he said.
[Translation: “In this modern day and age, we hope to move past the derogatory language humans use to refer to my kind. Rather than drawing distinctions between humans and animals, we hope to be referred to as ‘alternate humans.’ I am confident that the people of Baltimore can respect this decision.”]
While many have doubts about the election of Wise-Owl as president, the upcoming year will, at the very least, be interesting.