PETA tackles Super Mario and his tanooki (raccoon dog) fur coat

PETA's response to Super Mario and his super power Tanooki suit

People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched a new campaign aimed at Super Mario with the release of their new game, Super Tanooki Skin 2D.  

Mario in a tanooki suit

The game is in response to the “power up’ in Mario Bros. games, which give Mario and Luigi extra power to … um … do something … OK, if I sound more than a little uninformed it’s because I know zip about video games. All I know is that there is a suit that is a racoon dog (or “tanuki”/”tanooki”) that Mario wears to get power. Where it comes from, how he gets it, I have no idea.

But the folks at PETA say in a press release, “We created our game to help inform people that in real life, Mario would be wearing the skin of an animal who was beaten, strangled or electrocuted, and it wouldn’t give him any special powers other than the power of self-deception.”

In their new game, which is the center of PETA’s new “Mario Kills Tanooki” campaign, players direct a bloody, skinned raccoon dog as he chases a tanuki fur–suited Mario through a surreal fur farm where raccoon dogs are routinely skinned alive for their fur.

The press release goes on to explain:

On fur farms in China—the world’s largest fur exporter—raccoon dogs are confined to row upon row of tiny wire cages that are exposed to the elements. Many of the animals go insane from the intensive confinement. A “Mario Kills Tanooki” video shows undercover video footage of raccoon dogs as workers drag them from cages and slam them repeatedly to the ground to kill them. Most of the animals don’t die right away, and some survive for as long as 10 minutes after they are skinned. One investigator recorded a skinned raccoon dog on a heap of carcasses who had enough strength to lift his bloodied head and look, blinking, into the camera.

Raccoon Dog at Fukuyama, Hiroshima prefecture, Japan

Like I’ve said, I don’t know much about video games, and I don’t know that in the game Mario actually clubs and skins a raccoon dog. (Although I have always wondered what it says about our society that we would laud games like Grand Theft Auto, where violence, drug use and crime are the keys to winning. If you think it’s OK to beat a woman, why not skin a dog? Brrr.)

But did you know that often times faux fur is actually dog? So even if you’re not wearing “real fur”, that fake fur on your clothing or accessory is probably from a raccoon dog. (And sometimes that “exotic” fur you’ve shelled out big buck for is actually dog.)

Now that you know the story about dogs and fur, what do you think about Mario and Luigi wearing a tanooki suit to get powers to save the princess in a video game? Do you agree with PETA that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed?

You can go to the PETA website to see the video described about (it’s graphic, just so you’re warned) and also play the game Super Tanooki Skin 2D.

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