People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have yet again proven they quite literally have no grip on reality after they demanded a mini-game within Far Cry 6 be replaced because it ‘glorifies’ cockfighting.

No chickens were harmed in the writing of this article.

I thought it a good idea to make that clear first because some people these days really do seem to struggle with differentiating between what’s real and what’s not real.

Take, for example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who have got their hemp knickers in a twist over a video game which features a bit of cockfighting. I’m not a gamer but I’m pretty certain that no actual real life-cocks – male chickens – are injured when people play the game Far Cry 6. 

The cockfighting bit is actually a mini-game within a game, not the main event. The main game is an action adventure first person shoot-em-up bloodfest by game maker Ubisoft. You’re a guerilla fighter and your role in the game is to topple an oppressive regime that’s loosely based on Cuba. Join in if that’s your thing, you get to choose weapons and cool cars and you can hire mercenaries to join in the cause. 

Oh and you get to blow peoples’ brains out and all that, like you do in most of those shoot-em-up fun fests. Characters even use swear words. The rendering of reality is pretty damn impressive these days in these types of video game – people and places and things are super realistic. Maybe that’s what’s so confusing.

The cockfighting is pretty realistic too. I can vouch for that because I actually went to a couple of cockfights in the Philippines, years ago. It all took place in a big shed with a sandpit in the middle that had a terraced ring around for spectators, most of whom laid bets on which rooster they thought would win a fight – often, but not always, to the death. The ‘trainers’ help this process along by attaching razor-sharp knives to their roosters’ ankles.

I found it barbaric and backward, especially when one had its head almost sliced off. It kind of hung to the side from a few remaining sinews and arterial blood spurted out all over the sand. That chicken, obviously, lost. Though it took him a little while to actually realise it and give up the fight. Ever heard the phrase ‘he ran around like a headless chicken’? Turns out, like many of those old phrases, it’s based on truth.

I was careful, though, not to pass judgement on these people – most of the dead chickens, so they told me, were actually eaten. Plus, there is clearly some instinct within those creatures that makes them want to tear each other apart. 

And the lives those cocks lead, up to the point where their necks are sliced open, is way better than the average chicken that ends up in your pot.

That was real, the ones inside Far Cry 6 are not. Listen, PETA, they aren’t real. Nobody is really shot in the game either, nothing really explodes, nothing at all is real. It’s worth repeating: it’s not real. 

“Turning a horrific bloodsport like cockfighting into a Mortal Kombat-style video game match is a far cry from real innovation, as today’s society is strongly opposed to forcing animals to fight to the death,” said PETA Latino Senior Manager Alicia Aguayo in a statement. “Roosters used in cockfights are fitted with sharp spurs that tear through flesh and bone, causing agonizing and fatal injuries. PETA Latino urges Ubisoft to replace this reprehensible minigame with one that doesn’t glorify cruelty.”

Notice that the PETA zealot makes no complaint about people – also not real – in that game having their brains blown out. But listen, Alicia, because it’s very important and worth repeating; it’s not real.

There isn’t a pit somewhere in which men take these chickens and slice them into pieces to follow the game’s instructions. 

Though there are right now – of course – millions upon millions of chickens being electrocuted, then their throats sliced and their guts ripped out by a machine. They emerge out the other side as all sorts of foodstuffs, usually wrapped in cellophane. 

Chickens don’t actually come from a supermarket, they were hatched and grown, usually in cramped conditions, then killed and put there on the shelf with a sell-by date stamped on the packaging. They’re also genetic freaks, completely unnatural, bred solely for meat.

PETA has long been one of those groups where anything sensible and useful they might actually be saying about the treatment of animals has been drowned out by statements and causes that they pursue that are just plain ridiculous. 

Twitter, of course, is alight with all this videogame nonsense and has been for a few days now. I love all this though. For me, PETA has long been a source of much amusement. A bit of comedy to lighten my day now and again.

How about when they demanded we all stop using ‘human supremacist’ expressions such as ‘greedy pig’ or ‘sneaky rat’ to avoid offending our furry friends? 

Or how about when they urged an old British pub to change its name from ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ to something that would celebrate ‘intelligent, sensitive chickens’? My personal favourites among PETA’s campaigns are always the ones in which lovely young women take most of their clothes off outside London Fashion Week or in Trafalgar Square to protest against…? I’ve actually forgotten, I just remember all those semi-clad females.

Personally, I think all chickens – all animals, in fact – should be given the vote. Why not? Though that would surely backfire big time on PETA because your average chicken isn’t all that bright, and they’d all probably vote Trump.

All these campaigns just serve to make PETA seem like an absurd comedy fringe and, just like in some silly video game, it blows them out of the water. But, for humour’s sake, long may they continue.

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