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PETA takes on Nintendo's Mario and his Tanooki suit

November 15, 2011 |  4:56 pm

Mario
Does Nintendo's new Super Mario 3D Land game promote the wearing of fur?

That's what the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asserting in the organization's latest attempt to grab attention for its pro-animal, anti-fur agenda.

PETA explains its gripe with Mario, a graphic character from a video game, on its website:

"When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use whatever means necessary to defeat his enemy -- even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers.

Tanooki may be just a suit in the game, but in real life tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing a Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it is OK to wear fur.

The statement is accompanied by a sinister looking Mario in a fur suit dripping with blood, holding the head of a dead raccoon dog.

Talk about using any means necessary to defeat an enemy.

PETA's website also features a deeply disturbing video of actual tanuki -- an animal native to Japan that looks like a raccoon but is in fact more closely related to a dog -- being bludgeoned to death and skinned by people who work in the fur industry.

The video is very upsetting, but whether that has anything to do with Super Mario 3D Land is up for debate.

While it is true that at points in the game, Mario dons a raccoon-ish looking "Tanooki" suit that enables him to float in the air and swat bad guys with his tail, he never slaughters an animal to get it.

Instead, as MSNBC's In-Game blog points out, "the magical Tanooki suits that [Mario] wears in the game typically spring from magical squares that magically hover in the air. These squares magically give up the suits, (which at first look like magical leaves), when Mario bumps his head into them."

Still, PETA has created its own game called Super Tanooki Skin 2D  in which a skinless Tanooki is chasing a flying Mario, trying to get his skin back.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Image: The video game character Mario decked in a fur suit dripping with blood holds the head of a dead raccoon dog. Credit: PETA.

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