You’ve got to hand it to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), they know how to capitalize on popular culture.
Nintendo released “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” last Friday and it has taken the gaming community by storm. The game has broken Japan’s record for the largest Nintendo Switch release, selling 1.88 million copies in the first three days available. It’s also the fastest selling Switch title in the United Kingdom, and that’s just accounting for physical copies which would likely be higher if we weren’t in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The game has provided a much-needed escape from the coronavirus quarantine and struggles of life, as you, a human, are sent to live on a deserted island with anthropomorphic animals as your village companions. The game takes place in real time, meaning the time, day, and season where you live will be the same in the game. It allows for a leisure game of collecting items to decorate your house and island and fill out the island’s museum with bugs, insects, and fossils.
PETA noticed the success of the title and released its own guide to living a vegan lifestyle within Animal Crossing (and beyond). The guide says you should not fish in real life or the game, since “fishing is harmful to animals and the planet.”
“It’s disappointing that a game in which villagers from all different species (from elephants and ducks to deer and pigs) coexist harmoniously with humans encourages abusive behavior toward fish and insects. Instead of being recognized as the living, breathing, feeling individuals they are, they’re presented as forms of entertainment for the other villagers. Your island should be a safe space for all animals, big and small,” the guide states.
It’s a game, guys.
This same sentiment is applied to the insects of the game as well, and goes on to state that you absolutely shouldn’t be donating them or fish to the museum.
“Just as fish don’t belong in tanks, insects don’t belong inside cramped cases in a museum for other villagers to gawk at. Your island should be a place where wild animals are free to live without being captured and exploited,” the guide states.
PETA also says you shouldn’t dig up clams because they are also living creatures and to not pick up the hermit crabs on the beach – because again, “They’re not objects—they’re individuals!”
For those who want to play the game but maintain a vegan diet, thankfully your only option is to eat fruit anyway (but you don’t need to eat to survive in the game; eating fruit gives you strength to complete certain exceptional tasks, like digging a tree out of the ground with your shovel). Oddly, PETA says nothing about chopping down trees, even though animals and insects may live in them.
Further, PETA says you shouldn’t build a dog house in your game, even though no dog will actually live in it, because some people mistreat dogs by leaving them chained up outside with only a small dog house for shelter.
Finally, PETA makes several suggestions for how players can “spread animal rights through Animal Crossing,” including adding slogans to your character’s “passport,” making lame custom designs that say “go vegan,” and posting bulletins to ensure no one who visits your island will be able to have fun the way the game intended by telling them not to fish or catch bugs.
PETA’s suggestions for how to have fun without taking part in the games best activities include standing around with your friends in various places on the island. Can’t wait!