High Horse: PETA’s anti-fur game campaigns still miss the point

High Horse is a rotating opinion column in which GamesRadar editors and guest writers are invited to express their personal thoughts on games, the people who play them and the industry at large.

It’s not easy being a horse, especially a horse at GamesRadar. As Senior Wildlife Editor and the only quadruped on staff at this sad publication, you’d think I’d be the first writer this group turned to for the premier of this weekly column. It’s called “High Horse” for goodness sake! To wait this long for a High Horse column written by an actual horse is an insult to readers. But most importantly, it’s an insult to me. Maybe I should start my own GamesRadar column called “Opinions by Fat and Lazy Human Gamers” and not invite any of my non-horse co-workers to participate. That would show them. But I digress.

Today, I’m here to talk about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Every year, it seems we can count on the human-run organization to produce at least one mini-Flash game designed to criticize a popular title of note in the name of animal rights – and this year was no exception. PETA’s most recent “pro animal” title, Super Tanooki Skin 2D, wags a stern finger at Mario fans, criticizing the return of the iconic Tanooki raccoon suit in Super Mario Land 3D for the Nintendo 3DS.

GamesRadar News Editor Henry Gilbert recently outlined some of the reasons why PETA’s slam on Mario isn’t consistent with the organization’s anti-fur agenda. As Gilbert points out, the suit is cruelty-free, granted by a magical leaf. But like PETA (and most non-horses), Gilbert ignores the most important reason why PETA’s Super Tanooki Skin 2D game misses the point: raccoons are dangerous.

Above: Raccoons would be wearing suits made of human skin if they could. Trust me, I’m a horse

In fact, following sharks and bears, raccoons are the number one threat to America. My many attempts to warn your kind of the North American raccoons’ dangerous appetites have been dismissed (much like the way I was dismissed for the first three weeks of this column). The misguided notion that raccoons require an organization of humans, like PETA, to protect their kind from other humans would probably not exist if anyone had actually taken the time to talk to a raccoon. Fortunately for you, in addition to human English, I am also fluent in the North American dialect of Raccoonese.

“I first tasted human flesh when I was about two,” admitted one anonymous raccoon source who we’ll call Rocky from here on. “I was foraging in a human trash bin in the suburbs of Hayward, California. You know the kind I’m talking about. Those big plastic ones they leave outside their dwellings on Sunday nights. It’s always on Sundays.”

“Anyhow, I was digging past all these empty boxes of cereal and caught the side of what appeared to be a whole orange! You can imagine how excited I was. But all of a sudden I found myself losing balance. Before I knew it, I was falling from the lip of the bin. When I looked up, the fur near my right ear was wet with blood – and I saw a boy, a human boy with a slingshot.”

It was the last mistake that human boy ever made. “I couldn’t believe that motherf****r! I returned to the dwelling later that evening with a few of my friends. We snuck into the boy’s bedroom through his window. He was delicious.”

Above: PETA must stop worrying about raccoon skins and start closing their children’s windows

It’s easy for humans to forget that raccoons are omnivores. This means they eat plants and animal meat. And for many raccoons like Rocky, the sweetest meat can be found on human boys between the ages of four and seven. “To this day, I have never tasted anything so succulent, so moist,” explained Rocky. “We dragged the remains to our home and enjoyed the leftovers for weeks!” Just as Native Americans made sure to use every part of the buffalo, the North American raccoon makes sure that no part of its prey goes to waste.

“By the time we were done, there was nothing left but bones and hair. We used the bones to reinforce the walls in our tree hollow. The hair was knitted into a comfy blanket, which helped keep me extra cozy that winter.”

It wasn’t long before Rocky and his posse switched from foraging to hunting full-time. Like so many North American raccoons living in urban areas, Rocky finds it hard to return to a diet of mostly rotten produce when there are so many delicious human children with open bedroom windows. “Don’t get me wrong. I still like oranges. But if I have a choice – and thanks to these human tract housing projects, there’s always a choice – it’s human boy-kabobs or nothing,” said Rocky, nodding to himself solemnly while pawing his necklace of ears.

Today, Rocky continues to promote the all-human-boy diet to fellow raccoons and any non-human mammal that will listen - and is working on launching his first line of human boy apparel. “Check this out,” said Rocky, who pulled out a lumpy hat fashioned from human skin and hair. “I call it a boyskin cap. Get it?”

Consider yourself warned, PETA. Instead of wasting resources on unfunny satires targeting fictional game characters, your organization may want to stop worrying about raccoon skins, and start worrying about your own skins.


  • CitizenWolfie - December 3, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    I think PETA were being particularly pedantic about this. I don't think most people outside of Japan would know what a "Tanooki" was if not for Mario introducing the term to us as children. Besides which, the power up is called a Tanooki "SUIT." Last time I checked, a suit is not the same as a "Skin." I could wear a gorilla suit but it doesn't mean that I've killed an actual gorilla and wore its skin. Mario is an overweight human(?) male - how the hell could his whole body fit into the skin of a Raccoon? If anything, PETA are the ones PROMOTING animal cruelty as they're the ones showing brutally skinned animals moving around for our amusement along a background of other gruesomely skinned animals by providing us with a FREE game accessible on the Internet no less. Something accessible world wide by children and is mostly uncensored. Nice one PETA, all that's made me do is want a raccoon burger. And besides which, if that Raccoon ever did get his skin back, "Mario" would have stretched and ripped it beyond repair being the fat bastard that he is. The Tanooki suit is clearly tailored to fit, whereas PETA have cruelly ripped the skin off a poor, defenceless pixel raccoon and forced a fat man to squeeze into it. That's against both animal and human rights right there. For further proof Raccoons are evil, I'd just like to mention Raccoon City. Yeah, we all know what happened there. That shit wouldn't have even gone down in Sodom and Gomorrah. Fucking Raccoons.
  • Person5 - December 3, 2011 12:55 a.m.

    I need to ask, how did Buttercup write this column? Hooves don't work well with a keyboard, and its not like Buttercup could have dictated, Mr. Ed is the only talking horse. Furthermore, how does a horse get a job at GamesRadar?
  • madmax21st - December 3, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    Screw you, Buttercup is Buttercup. He can do anything he damn well please.
  • miningguyx360 - December 3, 2011 7:54 a.m.

    Siri dictation with an iPhone 4S obviously.
  • MinxRiot - December 3, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    They make a keyboard for horses now, didn't you know!?
  • Person5 - December 3, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    @MinxRiot would these keyboards just be two big buttons? or maybe a big mat
  • talleyXIV - December 3, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    They have a special keyboard that has 1 foot long keys on it. See, I just poked a huge hole in your logic.
  • Person5 - December 4, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    I feel like that would take forever to write with though...
  • SpadesSlick - December 2, 2011 9:26 p.m.

    Buttercup needs to write all of these articles.
  • angelusdlion - December 2, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    You know what I find hilarious? That PETA hasn't gotten in a snit about Red dead redemption.. the game where you actually shoot and skin critters..
  • bamb0o-stick - December 3, 2011 4:39 a.m.

    Good point, I remember skinning countless animals in that game. However I've also been mauled plenty of times by cougars and bears. I even used my horse as cover in a firefight on at least one occasion.
  • lilbuddha - December 2, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    I've got nothing personally wrong with the fur trade, killing animals for food, etc etc, BUT the video they showed was a LIVE raccoon-dog being skinned, then after skinned, still ALIVE, slowly dying in front of the camera. Break their neck / Kill them quickly / with minimal pain and I'm ok with it. p.s. Don't watch the video, it's pretty damn horrific imagery.
  • jmcgrotty - December 3, 2011 1:41 a.m.

    You think that is bad?? Check out In it, you graphically see a freshly picked apple (They are standing next to the tree! It couldn't have been killed more than a few seconds earlier) get completely peeled right on camera. And there is absolutely NO emotion shown by the peeler. Sick, sick stuff I tell ya.
  • Demoneyes - December 3, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    I threw up watching that apple get peeled. Youtube should not allow such content to be uploaded.
  • talleyXIV - December 3, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    I just watched that video, I almost cried and I haven't cried about anything in like 2 years. This is the one thing I like about PETA, they bring to light the cruelty to animals, which I believe is necessary. However, trying to stop the killing of virtual animals is silly.
  • LSZ - December 2, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    I love animals and are disgusted by forms of animal cruelty BUT if wearing raccoon skin gave me the power of flight and to turn into a statue, I'd have to reconsider my stance a bit.
  • Galgomite - December 2, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    Unfortunately, I think PETA's point was to get attention, which they did.
  • MidianGTX - December 2, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    Yup, and now we respect them even less. Good move.
  • mockraven - December 2, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    Pointedly Evading True Awareness This story reminds me that raccoons are nasty pests. They're cute as can be but just as destructive, too. In an older house I've stayed at, where the eaves and attics weren't tightly sealed, some have actually dug through the insulation and the ceiling only to fall right into the kitchen. They're also a health hazard due to some diseases they carry.

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