PETA Calls Out Nintendo For Fur-Wearing Mario

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The People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals are blasting Nintendo and their beloved gaming plumber Mario over what they claim is a message that it's OK to wear animal furs.


In Super Mario 3D Land, which was released this weekend, one of Mario's many power-ups is a Tanooki suit which grants him the ability to glide across the screen after jumps. The suit looks more like a one-piece jumper or costume than it does a fur, but PETA says the game is sending the wrong message to gamers.

"Tanooki may be just a 'suit' in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur," according the the PETA Mario Kills Tanooki website. "By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur."

On the Mario Kills Tanooki website, players can turn the tables on Mario, taking on the role of a bloody and skinned tanuki chasing a surly Mario as he drifts through his familiar world, a trail of blood dripping from his suit.

"Tanukis are real-life raccoon dogs who are beaten and, as PETA's undercover exposés show, often skinned alive for their fur," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "This winter, everyone can give raccoon dogs and other fabulous animals a 1-UP by keeping our wardrobes fur-free."

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I have never seen an argument, which I considered sensible, as to why animals should be treated as indistinct from humans in terms of ethics and individual rights. (Should viruses? Where do we draw the line?) In other words, I've never seen an argument I agreed with that explained why wearing fur is "wrong" and by whose or what standard this right or wrong was being measured. It's very rare that I see arguments for treating animals a certain way that aren't simply appeals to emotion.

As for the animals being skinned alive ... I hate to ask, but if the animals were already dead first, I wonder if or how PETA's stance would change.