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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

PETA takes a shot at Pokemon

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights organisation, has made a Pokémon parody that slams the game for its mistreatment of imaginary creatures.

Oh, PETA. We'd like to believe that you are worth taking seriously, but at every turn, you are waiting with a campaign that is so utterly ludicrous that we can't help but laugh.

Called Pokémon Black and Blue, the game pits rebellious Pokémon against unfeeling carers, in a bid to rescue other Pokémon from cruel slavery. Dialogue is pitched against keeping Pokémon in Poké Balls and forcing them to fight each other — drawing parallels to the mistreatment of pets and other animals. In between fights, you get all sorts of "goodies" — a graphic video about animal abuse, a desktop, a set of printable trading cards.

It would actually be a clever campaign if it wasn't so steeped in the idea that violence is the best response — the Pokémon fight humans, using tactics such as protesting and education to weaken foes, before hitting them with physical attacks. For us, the over-the-top bloodiness reached a peak when a flayed Oshawatt joined our party.

PETA seems to believe that Pokémon teaches children animal cruelty. The game's web page states, "The amount of time that Pokémon spend stuffed in Poké Balls, is akin to how elephants are chained up in train carts, waiting to be let out to 'perform' in circuses. But the difference between real life and this fictional world full of organised animal fighting, is that Pokémon games paint rosy pictures of things that are actually horrible."

We're against animal cruelty. Who isn't? But PETA's methods of responding with blood and horror — while they may get attention — are little more than tasteless shock tactics that seem to advocate animal rights over those of humans, while remaining firmly rooted in the idea that an imaginary world that is populated with imaginary creatures, with a story that holds kindness and compassion paramount, is an evil tool for teaching children to be cruel to animals.

We recommend that you go donate to or help out at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) instead.

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BillB2 posted a comment   

The irony in PETA essentially calling themselves a real life Team Plasma, a group in the game that claim to be about liberating Pokemon but in reality use scare tactics and guilt trips to force actually kindhearted people to believe in their cause so they can better their political standing in the world, is astounding. Good job PETA, keep attacking kid's games.


GilbertoC posted a comment   

Just Wow.


HariI posted a comment   

it's an analogy - they are reaching, and it's a pretty hopeless campaign that makes all animal rights activists look like jokes, but it is an analogy nonetheless.

Also, a note to the author:

"We're against animal cruelty. Who isn't?"

Who are you referring to here? To answer your question, most anyone who eats meat in a developed country, and is aware of how its produced, is not against animal cruelty.


AndrewL10 posted a reply   

You've got a point, but I really don't think the right way to promote animal rights is to get others to become vegetarian. It's sort of like avoiding the problem altogether.

Here's an analogy:

We've got a water leaking from pipes. It is clearly wasteful and harmful to the environment. What do we do? Don't use water that flow through pipes at all!

Even if it work, it's counterintuitive. The moment people start using pipes again, the leaks will continue, once again. Instead of not using water, a better idea would be to fix the leaks in the first place.

Likewise, animal cruelty, especially in the form of handling and killing livestock should be solved by working out the kinks of the system. Get rid of all the legal leeways. Enforce harsher punishments for those who violate animal rights. Heavily fine those corporations that are found to have any link to animal cruelty, whether they know about it or not. Make it as illegal as children pornography. Employ animal rights advocates to work at all livestock farms and facilities.

Whatever the solutions may be, it certainly isn't telling people to not eat animals at all. It's not enforceable and is practically an impossible agenda. Not to mention that eating meat is part of what we were designed for (notice your incisors and canines). Because even if it does work and destroy the meat industry, the moment people begin to eat animals again...all of the issues will just come flooding back in.

Animal rights activists have a point. Heck, even PETA has a point. No animal deserves to be tortured or be forced to live in stressful conditions. But as is typical these days, the way animal rights awareness has been promoted is ineffective and wrong. Getting people to become vegetarians doesn't achieve anything. It's just a counterintuitive and short termed solution to a long termed problem. Instead, lobby the government for stricter animal welfare laws, make it stringent. Whatever it is, stop yucking people's yum and attempting to guilt trip them. Whether it works or not, you make yourself and fellow animal rights activists appear as uptight douches...and that's not the right impression you want when trying to convince a general population.


Dunners posted a reply   

I see what your saying however my ancestors didn’t fight their way to the top of the food chain for me to eat beans.


SantiagoS posted a comment   

they are nuts indeed! pokemon is supposed to revolve around companionship and respect, not abuse


AviB posted a comment   

The truth about what happens to rejected starter pokemon :


Michelle Starr posted a reply   

Oh man, that's awful.

Did you ever see this one?


ZoranZ1 posted a comment   

Wow PETA is lame....

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