Ingrid Newkirk and the people of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have once again demonstrated that, when it comes to promoting their supposed cause, the profile of the target is much more important to them than the severity of the offense.
Following the release of Pokemon X and Y, PETA is once again "protesting" the video game franchise with a Flash game, this time called Pokemon Red, White and Blue, which depicts Pokemon as if slaves (and includes McDonald's mascots as enemies for some reason).
"For generations, humans have claimed to love Pokemon," an opening narrative to the game reads, "but if Pokemon came to our world and saw how we treat animals, would they love us back? Would they feel that Pokemon games have a part in reducing our empathy towards animals?
"Would they feel like it's completely ridiculous that Nintendo releases two versions of essentially the same game and then has the audacity to release a slightly different version a couple of years later?
"And what would humans do to Pokemon if they got their hands on them in the real world?"
Ignoring the middle complaint (which is, to be fair, a legitimate complaint), it might have helped if someone at PETA had, in the fifteen years the Pokemon franchise has been in existence, at least once done a little first-hand research with it. Here are just a small sampling of what is wrong with PETA's argument against Pokemon.
#1: Pokemon is fantasy. It's a video game.
#2: Pokemon are not animals. They look and behave like animals, and in many instances have replaced their real-world animal counterparts, but both the games and corresponding anime provide plenty of evidence that they are not animals (intelligence, cross-species breeding, evolution as aging, etc.).
#3: Pokemon are, by nature, competitive. Again, this is substantiated by both the games and anime several times; Pokemon are frequently depicted battling in the wild over minor trivialities, or in some cases, just because, with some, such as between Seviper and Zangoose, being described as generally being a fight to the death.
Which brings us to #4: Pokemon are more cruel in the wild to each other than humans could ever be to them.
All of the most brutal material in the entire Pokemon franchise, games and anime alike, comes by way of the Pokedex, an in-game reference guide to all the species of Pokemon. Here are just a few examples:
- Heatmor (White): Using their very hot, flame-covered tongues, they burn through Durant's steel bodies and consume their insides.
- Gorebyss (Sapphire): When it spots prey, this Pokémon inserts its thin mouth into the prey's body and drains the prey of its body fluids.
- Pinsir (D/P/P): It grips prey with its pincers until the prey is torn in half.
- Cubone (Silver): It always wears the skull of its dead mother, so no one has any idea what its hidden face looks like.
- Frillish (White): They paralyze prey with poison, then drag them down to their lairs, five miles below the surface.
If Pokemon did come to our world, they'd probably be more bewildered by the fact that the games based on them are being marketed to kids than be upset by the way some animals are treated.
If the people at PETA truly did care about the welfare of animals, idiot attention-grabbing campaigns like this should be seen as distractions. As such, the fact that they continue to protest the treatment of non-animals in a fantasy world should leave no doubt: Grabbing for attention is all PETA is truly about.