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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PETA Upset With Pokemon - Wants To Catch'em Young

As a pet owner for nearly 45 years, I love animals. I've owned three Cocker Spaniels, four Rottweilers and a Chocolate Labrador. I've owned two cats and have had up to 10 aquariums of tropical fish running at one time. I care for my pets... and do my best to ensure they have the love and care they need.

So... I can dig PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). But sometimes, I think they go a bit overboard... like sometimes they are just looking to get their name back into the media spotlight.

Even having said that, I'm unsure if I agree with their latest attack or not.

It's not because they are protesting the ethical treatment of animals, because in this case they are not. 

No... as of October 9, 2012, PETA has set its sights on Pokemon... a collection of made-up characters known as Pocket Monsters (hence the combined name Pokemon) from Japanese video game manufacturer Nintendo.

Now... keep in mind... PETA is NOT attacking the television show Pokemon - which my nearly seven-year-old son and I enjoy watching. It IS attacking the recently released Nintendo video game Pokemon: Black and White 2 for the shoddy way these made-up creatures are portrayed.

For example... PETA claims that in this game, Pokemon are being abused by their trainers. No... not sexually. Even I don't feel like making a joke about this.Rather PETA says: "The difference between real life and this fictional world full of organized animal fighting is that Pokémon games paint rosy pictures of things that are actually horrible."

I have to admit that my wife hates the TV show as she thinks it's horrible that these creature are expected to fight each other just so their trainers can earn a few badges.

Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinking badges! (Kudos to you if you know where this famous line came from - hint - it also has ties to a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon that parodied the same 'movie').

Or... if you prefer an animal schtick: Budgies? Budgies? We don't need know stinking budgies! (Name that movie!)

PETA claims that Pokemon have suffered at the hands of their “cruel” trainers for generations. "“The difference between real life and this fictional world full of organized animal fighting is that Pokemon games paint rosy pictures of things that are actually horrible,” according to the PETA website.

Geez. That's harsh.

I can see PETA's point. They believe that kids can learn that it's okay for their pets to fight - and it's not. Just ask Michael Vick and his troubles with dog fighting!

To combat this, PETA has created a parody video game on its website: Pokemon: Black & Blue - Gotta Free'em All.

The parody video game shows Ash Ketchum's classic electric mouse Pokemon - Pikachu (pika-pika) - all beat up with blood splattered on him/her/it. Pikachu is wearing bandages and has a neck brace on and he - despite being beaten up badly, gets up to confront  a trainer named Cheren. Cheren, in this parody, is holding a baseball bat covered in blood - ready to beat the crap out of Pikachu for defying him.

The player gets the option of allowing Pikachu to deliver a quick attack, a thunder shock, a group hug or protest. The player’s goal is to “exploit a trainer’s weakness and defeat all the trainers to free all Pokemon.”

Sounds like a nasty parody, PETA. And hardly fair.

Still, here's the PETA Pokemon parody videogame: HERE. I played a bit, defeated Charen and won a bonus treasure, opened it and saw a disturbing video of abused animals.  I didn't want to play anymore.

So... you have to hand it to PETA. There are a lot of 'people' out there abusing the crap out of animals. Go ahead... watch the video... take a look at the pig with its eyes sewn shut.

As for its attack on Pokemon... I can see PETA's point... but kids don't watch this show and grow up thinking that they should abuse animals. If they do, it wasn't because of the Pokemon video game or the Pokemon television show. Some people are just idiots. As such... despite appreciating what PETA stands for, I think they have slipped off the track with their attack.

No animals are being abused here. They are made-up animals... in a video game... on a television show. As I said... I only played the one 'board' and didn't want to play anymore. This is a kid's game and a kid's TV show. I know what PETA is thinking... that kid's shouldn't be exposed to such concepts as fighting animals... but it was explained in the early episodes that for a Pokemon to grow, it needs to battle. To reach its next evolutionary step, battles are done. The Pokemon can get hurt, but the good trainers know when to stop so no damage is truly done. I know, I contradicted myself and played into PETA's hands with that statement. Still, Pokemon trainers look after their pokemon, take them to hospitals for check-ups, feed them, care for them and love them. At least that's what the hero Ash Ketchum does.

I see PETA's point, but I think they should stick to the real animal abuses. It's like the parent's of a teenager who set fire to their house because Beavis and Butthead said fire was cool. The parents blamed the show for inspiring their kid to burn the house down. Maybe the show did... but really, that kid was already screwed up if he believes that fire and burning down a house would be cool.

I've watched a coyote fall of a cliff hundred's of times from the time I was four-years-old. And not ONCE did I EVER think that a coyote could really survive plummeting off a cliff. I knew he should die in real life. But I also knew that this was a cartoon and not based on real life. Not once have I ever been inspired to put on an Acme Bat suit and try to fly. No once have I thought about jumping off a roof to mimic a professional entertainment wrestler. I doubt Michael Vick ever watched Pokemon and thought - 'hey, I should become involved in dog-fighting'.

There are those that will do those things, but they already would have done something stupid no matter what.

It's the same for the Pokemon stuff. Kids like Pokemon because the creatures have cool powers. My son doesn't watch Pokemon and think he should kick a dog to train it! He has commonsense.

The kids that lack commonsense are going to do something stupid regardless of whether or not they watch play Pokemon.

Nice try PETA. You do great work, but sometimes you go a little too far in playing the blame game.

FYI, PETA has also protested Nintendo's Super Mario 3D Land video game because Mario wears a fur suit and Zinga's Mafia Wars game because it uses pit bulls as attack dogs. 

Pokemon is second to Mario in global video game popularity.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Really? That's funny!
    I am against abusing animals but have, many time, felt the desire to rip to shred those little oh-so-cute Pokemon stuffed animals little kids used to stuff in my face! KILL!!!!

    1. I only have to play Pokemon - the card game - with my kid. I love the show and hate the card game which is overly complex. Perhaps my brain is full.