Last week we wrote about PETA’s new video game where you take the role of a famous Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and travel around university and pharmaceutical labs assaulting scientists.
PETA have been promoting this game for a while on Twitter with messages like:
posted at brief intervals over the past ten days. One could be forgiven for thinking PETA had hired Mr Hyde to run their twitter feed.
When challenged on Twitter about promoting violence against scientists, PETA appeared to take a Dr Jekyll approach, replying:
@tomholder We don't promote violence against anybody—
PETA (@peta) June 14, 2013
However a day later PETA has turned back from Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde when they once again buoyed on their (relatively young) Twitter audience:
One irritated tweeter commented:
@peta I really find this inappropriate...how do you feel about games where the goal is to "knock out" animals? The principle is the same.—
John Tao (@Johnleetao) June 10, 2013
It’s a good question. How do PETA react when video games depict violence against animals?
Peta have attacked a string of video games for apparent cruelty to animals including Battlefield 3, where one mission allows you to kill errant mice, and World of Warcraft where you can attack seals. However both games are very clearly intending to depict fictional events (sorry kids, real wizards are just chemistry professors in pointy hats). PETA might have a point if Super Mario 3 had been developed by the raccoon-dog fur industry to promote racoon-dog-fur-wearing among the public, but instead it’s a cute gimmick by Nintendo to give Mario the power to fly.
So PETA attack video games which depict violence against animals, and develop video games promoting violence against humans.
But wait, Dr Jekyll is back!
@tomholder It a fun game, a fantasy for animals trying to flee torture. We aren't actually promoting violence.—
PETA (@peta) June 17, 2013
It is worth noting that freeing animals is an optional part of the game whereas beating up all the scientists is necessary to complete it. Do we think the PETA staff would be as permissive of the game “Ethnic Cleansing“, where the object is to kill Jews and African-Americans? Would a disclaimer at the start, or arguing that “It is a fun game, a fantasy for white supermacists. We aren’t actually promoting violence” make it any more acceptable?
Nonetheless, PETA seem determined that their game does not promote violence.
Does PETA advocate the use of violence?
PETA maintains a creed of nonviolence and does not advocate actions in which anyone, human or nonhuman, is injured. We are a legal activist organization that works to educate the public about the horrors of animal cruelty through peaceful, nonviolent means. No one has ever been killed through animal rights activity in the United States.
Well PETA’s creed also says that does not advocate actions in which humans are injured, which seems to sit awkwardly with tweets asking followers if they want to take on the opportunity to beat up scientists. It is also worth noting that while the animal rights movement may not have killed anyone in the US, it has torched their cars, flooded their houses and threatened their children.
The Twitter conversation continued:
@peta If I said "Ever feel like punching an abortion doctor / climate scientist / teacher, play our game", would that also be acceptable?—
Tom Holder (@tomholder) June 17, 2013
@tomholder Those other scientists you mentioned do not living beings who are capable of feeling pain and suffering. Bad comparison.—
PETA (@peta) June 17, 2013
I presume that Dr Jekyll is missing the word “harm” (or similar). At first you could be forgiven for thinking PETA have a point (although many schoolchildren may disagree after a Double Maths lesson, and the Pro-Life movement would also disagree). However, on second reading you realise that PETA are saying that it’s not acceptable to make a video game where you punch teachers/doctors, but it is acceptable to make a video game punching scientists, but why is this the case ? Could it be that a game attacking teachers/doctors would promote violence against those groups. We’ll let you decide.
PETA exhibit a level of doublethink which would impress even Jekyll and Hyde (the real ones, not the PETA staff tweeters). Perhaps they should work out a clear moral code before embarking on their next video game.
Speaking of Research
P.s. make sure you read our original post about PETA’s MMA game.