PETA has recently published a video game on their official site that has caused quite a stir with Mario fans. The game features Mario flying in a Tanooki suit. The Tanooki suit is not the one that fans are used to seeing, rather it is one that has actually been ripped off of a real tanuki, which are raccoon dogs. The player plays as a bloodied, skinned “Tanooki” trying to get his fur back from Mario.
Their site states:
When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy—even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers.
Tanooki may be just a “suit” in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur. Play Super Tanooki Skin 2D and help Tanooki reclaim his fur!
I recently reported Nintendo’s response to the Super Tanooki Skin 2D game, and PETA contacted me today with a statement regarding the response that it is getting from Mario fans. Here is the statement from the email:
Mario fans: Relax! PETA’s game was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, a fun way to call attention to a serious issue, that raccoon dogs are skinned alive for their fur. We wish real-life tanukis could fly or swat enemies away with their tails and escape from those who profit from their skins. You can help them by never buying real fur.
Now, I can understand where PETA is coming from, as I, myself, am an animal lover. I see it this way…by Nintendo releasing a new Mario game, it gives PETA an opportunity for some publicity. The site states that “Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.” Their statement to me says their game was “a fun way to call attention to a serious issue, that raccoon dogs are skinned alive for their fur.” All I am saying is that there are other ways to attack these serious issues. The games on their site are called “animal-friendly” games, yet they are worse than the games that they are attacking, or using a “fun way to call attention to a serious issue”. I mean Mario has been jumping on turtles for nearly 20 years. I don’t think Mario in a Tanooki suit is any different than a child in a dog costume, or any other animal, for that matter.
This is definitely a serious issue, however, in my honest opinion, I would hate to see it be dismissed or ignored because PETA is known for their over-the-top measures of addressing the situation at hand. By no means do I agree with what is being done to tanuki. It is grotesque and I cannot see how anyone can sleep at night, or even bring themselves to do something like this. I completely stand behind PETA on the issue at hand and I think we can battle these issues together, rather than calling out Mario for wearing a Tanooki suit.
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