Animal Crossing: New Horizons is all about animals. You’re a human, that wanders around an island with animals the same size as you, that can talk and wander around. But there are also creatures that are essentially normal creatures that can’t talk and just act…like creatures act. Swimming like a fish, flapping like a butterfly. You get the gist. However, PETA has some things to say about the game’s ethics and has issued a guide to explain how players can play it as a vegan.
As a disclaimer, the links in the guide when describing real-world events may be disturbing for some readers.
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ guide introduction, it aims to “answer some of the tough ethical questions that the game presents”. First up, it details that fishing in the game isn’t ethical, stating that you shouldn’t fish in reality so performing this action in-game shouldn’t be done. PETA state that your job is to protect your island, and capturing the fish to stick them in a museum is cruel and bad for the environment essentially.
It also calls to light how fish and bugs are “disregarded as forms of entertainment for the other villagers,” and seem to be left out of the community while other animals and your human character can live in harmony. They also advise against building the doghouse which comes with a bowl and chain.
Blathers, the owl that runs the museum is also attacked, saying that you shouldn’t donate the creatures to him as they’ll just end up captive within the walls of the beautiful looking building. PETA also says not to dig up clams that have burrowed into the sand. While it’s unclear if they feel pain, they are good for the ecosystem in the real world. Just not within the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons where they only serve the purpose of being turned into fish bait.
Oh, and the guide says to cut Tom Nook some slack for exploiting you and sends you on a link to some facts about the way raccoons are treated.
PETA does point out that there are elements to the game that are vegan friendly. The player can eat fruit, for example, which makes them strong enough to shatter rocks as well as getting extra bells and resources from them.
The company doesn’t seem to be saying “Don’t play this game” but rather encouraging those playing to just leave the creatures alone and find other ways of making your bells and ignoring the museum. Of course, the museum does require building in order to progress the game and to build it players need to donate 5 creatures.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available for Nintendo Switch.
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