PETA wants Warhammer characters to stop wearing furs now

PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has a long history of fairly silly videogame shenanigans. Highlights include its 2008 attack on Cooking Mama called Mama Kills Animals, the animal cage-fight sim Pokemon: Black and Blue in 2012, and just last year, a request to Giants Software "to show the horrific reality of the pig-farming industry" in Farming Simulator 17. They even have their own Minecraft server. And now the  animal rights organization has set its sights on Games Workshop, calling on the publisher to stop depicting Warhammer characters wearing animal pelts. 

"PETA has written to Games Workshop CEO Kevin Rountree asking that the leading British miniature war-gaming brand ban 'fur' garments from all Warhammer characters," the group announced. "While we appreciate that they are fictional, draping them in what looks like a replica of a dead animal sends the message that wearing fur is acceptable—when, in fact, it has no more place in 2017 than it would in the year 40,000." 

"The grimdark, battle-hardened warriors are known for their martial prowess—but wearing the skins of dead animals doesn’t take any skill," the message says. "Indeed, nothing on the bloody battlefields of Warhammer’s conflict-ravaged universe could match the terrible reality that foxes, minks, rabbits, and other living beings experience at the hands of the fur trade." 

The details are a little confused: PETA cited Leman Russ, Horus Lupercal, and the Sisters of Silence in its message, all from the Warhammer 40,000 setting—which it specifically referenced in its letter—but also the Chaos Warriors, a race from Warhammer Fantasy. Those fellows would be more inclined than the rest to make use of furs in their day-to-day life, I think, but asking for a fur-free Warhammer Fantasy is like asking for a gun-free Doom. This is a universe that gave us a game that is literally about murdering endless hordes of giant, bipedal rats, after all. Perhaps it meant Chaos Space Marines? 

As empty gestures go, it's not nearly as clever as, say, getting tofu added to Super Meat Boy, or making a playable game about Mario skinning a raccoon dog alive and wearing its skin, Silence of the Lambs style. (Seriously, it's called Mario Kills Tanooki, check it out.) And why Warhammer 40K, of all settings? It is literally about a grimdark future in which "there is only war," and they're not screwing around when they say so: The Horus heresy resulted in the deaths of 2.3 trillion innocent men, women and children, and 1000 human Psykers are ritually sacrificed every day to nourish the God-Emperor of Mankind. I'd say that by comparison, accessorizing with rat fur seems like a relatively minor transgression.

Update: The article originally stated that the gentleman pictured above is Leman Russ, but it has been pointed out to me it is in fact an image of Ragnar Blackmane. I apologize for any confusion and/or offense or upset caused to Messrs. Russ or Blackmane.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.