Blue Jays respond to PETA's concern

BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays' organization will at least pause and think twice before allowing animals into its clubhouse after PETA raised concerns about a recent incident in Toronto.

Left-hander Mark Buehrle was part of a small group of players who organized a visit of lion and tiger cubs from the local Bowmanville Zoo. Photos from the pregame event surfaced on social media, and while most of it was positively received, PETA had a different take.

The animal rights group sent a letter to the Blue Jays asking the ballclub to stop allowing these types of activities. PETA claimed the Bowmanville Zoo has a history of neglecting animals and stated that "there's nothing sporting about subjecting a terrified baby animal to excessive handling in a noisy, unfamiliar locker room."

"I thought there were some very salient points," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Tuesday. "I thought it was very well written and certainly respect everyone's opinion on the matter. There were some things, like they mentioned, that we weren't aware of, and if in 35 years from now, or whenever, something like that was to be brought to us again, we'll consider all angles."

The 35 years refers to the fact that this is the first time in franchise history the Blue Jays have been criticized by PETA. Anthopoulos also pointed out that the organization wasn't aware that Buehrle had arranged for a visit from the zoo until after the event already had taken place.

"I think the letter said it best, there was no intention there, we don't know what's going on between zoos and the PETA," Anthopoulos said. "I'm not familiar with it, it's not fair for me to comment, but I thought it was well written. There were some valid points and, again, in 30 something years from now someone decides to do that again, it's something we'll take under consideration."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.