Animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has taken to Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons to protest outside the in-game museum run by an owl character named Blathers.
In a TikTok video posted by PETA, many players were captured storming the museum to demand that fish—which are caught in the water and voluntarily donated to the museum for display by the player—be freed from the tanks. “EMPTY THE TANKS,” they shouted as they ran around the displays and surrounded Blathers in the lobby. They even came up with the hashtag “#BlathersIsOverParty” in an effort to “cancel” the museum owner.
— PETA (@peta) May 19, 2020
In a separate post, however, PETA clarified that they were not against the game itself. “PETA hopes the game will encourage people to feel closer to the animals we share our planet with and inspire them to work to #EndSpeciesism—the misguided belief that humans are superior to all other animal species and that it’s OK for us to exploit some species in horrible ways for our own trivial purposes,” they wrote.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fantastical in many ways, but when you look a little closer, you realize that there are even more ways in which it’s realistic. While other animals don’t speak the same language we do, they really do have their own means of communication and individual personalities. By populating your island with animals such as sheep, deer, and rabbits who have strong personalities, Nintendo is reinforcing the important fact that animals are individuals.”
PETA also came up with a vegan guide on how to play the game which tells you to refrain from catching bugs, fish, and clams, buying clothes made from animal skin, and from decorating your island with items that show a caged animal. They also suggested players to “raid” friends’ islands to protest their museum for “keeping fish captive” as well.
“PETA’s tongue-in-cheek #AnimalCrossingNewHorizons protest highlights a real life problem. Imagine floating in circles in a tiny bowl your entire life,” the organization added. “Fish aren’t decorations & don’t belong in bowls or tanks, whether they’re at an aquarium or on a desk.”
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