Nintendo introduced Pokémon back in 1996, and Pokémon today is the second-most lucrative and successful video game based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo’s own Mario franchise. Nintendo has sold millions of Pokémon games, trading cards and toys worldwide, and Pokémon’s core demographics are children.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently launched a campaign against Pokémon Black and White 2 (released October 7th, 2012). PETA believes that Pokémon games condone animal cruelty, and wrote on their Web site: “The amount of time that Pokémon spend stuffed in pokeballs is akin to how elephants are chained up in train carts, waiting to be let out to ‘perform’ in circuses,”. They go on by saying…”But 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.” Furthermore PETA has created a spoof video game called “Pokemon Black & Blue: Gotta Free ‘Em All” on their Web site. In this game the characters battle their trainers in order to be free.
Personally, I am all for fighting for the rights to protect innocent animals. What some people do to animals can be cruel, and PETA does a good job exposing those individuals and letting others know about it. The key question is where do we draw the line? PETA going after Nintendo and the Pokémon franchise is ludicrous. Pokémon characters are fictional, and I hope that most children understand that they are simply just imaginative characters and not real animals. I also have strong faith that children wouldn’t go out and attack real animals because they played a children’s Pokémon video game. That argument is like saying that just because I played Mario Kart, I’m going to go out and drive crazy in real life, and endanger others. PETA needs to give more credit to people than that. This seems like a publicity stunt by PETA to stir up people and help gain more attention. PETA should be spending their time, money and resources on going after the real predators out there abusing and mistreating animals, and not a fictional children’s video game.
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