PETA takes on Pokemon for promoting animal cruelty

Posted by Kate Taylor

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has always taken the stance that all animals, not just the cute ones, need protecting. Now, though, it seems to be broadening its remit still further.

With Pokémon Black and White 2 hitting store shelves over the weekend, the group's produced a parody version of the game, claiming the original paints a rosy picture of animal abuse.

Pokémon Black and Blue begins with the premise that Pikachu needs to win his freedom by defeating his trainer. After a series of further battles, he works up to battling the circus ringmaster. There's a little more 'realism' than in the original game, with the characters shown battered and bleeding after each encounter.

The game's available here.

"Games such as Pokémon send kids the wrong message that exploiting and abusing those who are defenseless is acceptable when it's not," says PETA director of marketing innovations Joel Bartlett.

"But with Pokémon Black and Blue, children can experience the great feeling that comes from saving others from harm."

The group's particularly incensed about the way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs - similar, it says, to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods.

Clearly, the whole thing's a publicity stunt designed to get more attention for the mistreatment of real-life animals, such as the circus elephants PETA highlights in its statement. And you can't say it doesn't work: I'm writing this, you're reading it...