PETA Condemns 'Far Cry 5' for ... Fishing?

Germany’s division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has issued a statement criticizing Far Cry 5 for its use of fishing in the game. (Yes, Far Cry 5 is largely a game about killing people with fantastic displays of violence). According to a press release, PETA argues that the gamification of fishing downplays the trauma suffered by fish as a result of the popular pastimes.

"Fishing means luring fish into a trap, exposing them to fear and shortness of breath for minutes to hours, as well as to an agonizing death struggle before being killed or often cut alive." Tanja Breining, marine biologist and specialist for fish and marine animals at PETA said in the statement. "Today we know that a fish is somebody, not something, and it is an indictment to promote fishing. Fish are curious vertebrates with individual personalities. "

PETA’s anti-Far Cry 5 statement cites various studies that show fish have complex social lives, fare well on several intelligence tests and are capable of experiencing emotions like fear and trauma as a result of being pulled from the water. It even uses anecdotal evidence from Paul McCartney, who told a widely publicized tale about how a fishing trip turned him into a  vegetarian, and Albert Schweitzer, who wrote in his memoirs how the use of worms as bait made him extremely uncomfortable.  

The reaction to the statement has been largely dismissive among Far Cry 5 fans. Subreddit r/KotakuInAction surfaced the story in the U.S. and condemned it for excessive political correctness. Redditors were quick to point out the hypocrisy of PETA, an organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of animals, criticizing a game that hasn’t killed anything.

Newsweek has reached out to Ubisoft for comment. The statement from PETA, translated from German to English by Google Translate, is below:

Computer game Far Cry 5: PETA criticizes unethical content
Animal rights organization urges game developer Ubisoft to nonviolence

Unethical and glorifying violence: The current section of the video game series "Far Cry" once again focuses on the hunting of fish. While in the previous game fish were killed with explosives, the player in Far Cry 5 can catch different types of fish with the fishing rod and receives different scores depending on the species. PETA now appeals to the German representation of the game developer, the Ubisoft GmbH in Dusseldorf, in the future no longer to market video games in Germany, glorifying and banalizing the hunting and killing of fish or other animals. The animal rights organization proposes instead to develop games with free-living animals that do not glorify killing as a pastime.

"Fishing means luring fish into a trap, exposing them to fear and shortness of breath for minutes to hours, as well as to an agonizing death struggle before being killed or often cut alive." Tanja Breining, marine biologist and specialist for fish and marine animals at PETA. "Today we know that a fish is somebody, not something, and it is an indictment to promote fishing. Fish are curious vertebrates with individual personalities. "

In some intelligence tests, fish fare better than chimpanzees, orangutans and capuchin monkeys [1]. They have a complex social life and sometimes close close friendships. Some fish sing like birds at dawn in chorus, others protect their young, by the offspring in case of danger in the mouth or guard the eggs for weeks [2]. But above all: you feel anxiety, stress and pain. In addition to international scientific studies, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, comes to the conclusion in its statement for the Federal Government that "fish are capable of pain perception and should accordingly be treated and protected as sensitive living beings." [3]

The fight against animal cruelty associated with fishing has prominent supporters. The ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney describes his first and only fishing experience as follows: "Many years ago I was fishing once. When I caught up with the poor fish, I realized that I was about to kill him - just for a transient palate. Something in me clicked. When I saw him gasping for breath, I knew that his life at that moment was as important to him as mine was to me. "Albert Schweitzer also writes in his memoirs how much the worms twisting while fishing hooked him and killing him shook the fish in his child's soul. After two years of fishing, he could not stand the strain any longer and in compassion tried to keep others from fishing.