Viewpoint: PETA video games detract from others’ fight for animal rights

By James Herd

PETA, known for its outlandish protests in an effort to protect animals from abuse, have returned to attack video games over the past year and a half, and it’s growing to an uncontrollable level.

Around this time last semester, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals launched a smear campaign against Nintendo and its trademark franchise, Mario Bros. With the release of “Super Mario 3D Land,” the animal rights group erected a website in response to the release, with a game of its own: “Mario Kills Tanooki” is a flash game that PETA created where you play as a skinned Tanooki (racoon-dog) chasing after a carnivorous Mario flying with the help of the Tanooki tail.

More recently, PETA has begun yet another smear campaign, attacking the folks over at Pokemon. According to a statement on the web-page erected for the campaign, PETA believes that fictional creatures created by a Japanese company have been violently beaten and killed for the cause of entertainment.

Oh, did I mention that they’re fictional? I wanted to emphasize that fact.

Of course, in the spirit of the trend, they created a flash game designed in the style of the ongoing Pokemon games called “Pokemon: Black and Blue”, where, rather than fighting against other Pokemon, you are a Pokemon fighting trainers directly.

The efforts of PETA are logical enough from an outside point of view. They want to protect the animals from harm that may or may not exist. Trust me, I don’t want animals to be hurt, but I know that actions in video games pose no harm whatsoever to the actual animals of our world.

But yes, from their point of view, an Italian plumber trying to save the princess from a dinosaur by going in and out of tubes while wearing a hat and tail that makes him magically fly is a message that children shouldn’t be exposed to.

Or in the case of their Pokemon campaign, children shouldn’t be playing games that deal with human/animal cooperation against an organization that actually wants to hurt the Pokemon.

I think we need to entrust the safety of animals to organizations that actually help the animals, such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or World Wildlife Foundation, organizations that refrain from immature stunts such as blaming companies who have nothing to do with acts of cruelty to animals.

In all reality, if members of PETA wants to help animals, they should do things that will actually help. Such as holding fundraisers, working to stop poachers, pursuing legal action against anyone who is abusive to pets, etc.

There is absolutely no need for campaigns attacking children’s entertainment, especially when it makes next to no sense in the scheme of things.

James Herd is a sophomore journalism major from Huffman. He is a lab reporter for The Baylor Lariat.