Warmhammer vs PETA
Whatever PETA’s intentions are with this latest publicity stunt, their actions have given me an idea for a new MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) franchise – Speciesism the Role Playing Game. I think it’s a niche market, but given the sheer volume of confused “advocates” in the mainstream movement, it’s potentially quite lucrative. There would only one playable race – humans – and 4 playable classes including: The Welfarist, The New Welfarist, The Faux-Intersectionalist, and The Flexible Vegan. With confused and terrifying ethics, these 4 strands of anti-heroes would reign terror on the vulnerable beings of their home world…
Wait, wait… I’m scrapping this idea. This isn’t a game at all, it’s reality.
PETA have just launched a campaign against Warmhammer, a fantasy strategy game where space armies wielding robust maces and futuristic blasters do battle with armies of orcs and goblins. Games Workshop – creators of the Warhammer franchise and its figurines – received a letter from Yvonne Taylor, PETA’s Senior manager of corporate projects, criticising Warhammer for featuring “an abundance of characters who wear what appear to be animal pelts.” She claims that the tabletop game “sends the message that wearing fur is acceptable.”
So lets get this straight. Not only are PETA continuing to perpetuate speciesism with their anti-fur campaign in real life, they’ve taken to implying that leather, wool, silk and all other animal products are somehow worse than fur in the Warhammer fantasy universe too. Some of those soldiers’ girdles look particularly leather-like, as do the orcs and goblins who are more often than not clad in heavy leather-looking amor, but PETA aren’t concerned about that. No, no, no, that would be ludicrous to include all sentient beings within our scope of morality, right PETA? Almost as ludicrous basing an entire campaign on plastic figurines.
What next? There was a hell of lot of violence in the critically acclaimed TV series, Breaking Bad, but I don’t see Amnesty International launching a campaign against chemistry teachers in order to stop an uprising of Walter White wannabes.
The relationship between plastic figurines and animal exploitation (other than a high probability of animal byproducts within the plastic) is as distant as the relationship between my underwear and quantum physics. It may look like the space warrior has a fur pelt over his shoulders, just as it may look like i’ve got a methamphetamine cook on my Breaking Bad boxer shorts, but at the end of the day the space warrior is made of plastic and my boxer shorts are made of cotton. To suggest that the figurine promotes the use of fur is to suggest that the figurine also promotes the use of maces and sonic plasma blasters. To suggest that my boxer shorts promote the production of methamphetamine is to suggest that all chemistry teachers are meth cooks who chop up drug dealers and dissolve them in acid baths.
In other words, to get upset over a plastic figurine – let alone continue to promote speciesism by focusing on plastic fur – is to deny and belittle the very real speciesism responsible for our animal exploitation in the real world.
It doesn’t matter what some fictional space character is wearing – it isn’t real. When our perception of animal value changes – when we recognise animals as moral persons and not things – the fictional worlds we bring into existence for our entertainment will follow suit. Launching a speciesist campaign against plastic figurines is changing nobody’s perception of animals as things. What it does do, however, with PETA’s fixation on fur, is tell all Warhammer fans that in the real world, there is a moral difference between fur and all other animal products.
As always, PETA continues to promote animal exploitation in the most bizarre ways. If only they were a fictional entity too. Ideally in a galaxy far, far away.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually own Breaking Bad boxer shorts…