I first want to say that this article is not going to be about Religion or Atheism. However, I will still post this article on this account, because this is where I'm doing the argument-based articles.
Like many people, I'm a big fan of Pokémon, and I'm really exited about the new games: Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. That's why I want to talk about a recent response by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to the new games, or more precisely, the whole concept of Pokémon. They claim it promotes animal violence and animal slavery and released a parody game called "Pokemon Black & Blue: Gotta Free 'Em All!" (there's a link to it in the description). I haven't played the game, but I've seen screenshots from it, as well as read PETA's thoughts on the games. And to be honest, I can see that they have never actually played the game, or watched the anime. If they did, they wouldn't have said the things they said.
Let's take a look at what they said about it:
"Much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments. The way that Pokémon are stuffed into Pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods
if PETA existed in Unova, our motto would be: Pokémon are not ours to use or abuse. They exist for their own reasons. We believe that this is the message that should be sent to children."
First of all, most trainers in the Pokémon world aren't like this. Sure, there are complete assholes who use Pokémon as tools, instead of forming bonds with them. However, all these guys are either meant to be the bad guys (like Team Rocket), or eventually change their mind. In fact, the evil teams in the games are literally the only people who actually perform experiments on Pokémon, and half of the game is about stopping them from doing such things.
And regarding the Pokéballs, Pokémon in the games, anime and manga don't seem to have a problem with going into their Pokéballs, and when they come out, they don't act like they finally escaped from some kind of prison. In fact, it's shown many times in the anime that they can leave their Pokéballs whenever they want, and are clearly aware of their environment while in the Pokéball. And seeing as they turn into energy before going into the Pokéball, they clearly aren't cramped in there.
And technically, there IS a version of PETA in Unova: Team Plasma. And at the end, the leader of the team (N) changes his mind when he realizes that the player and his Pokémon act like a team.
More importantly, I hate how PETA acts like Pokémon is inspiring animal abuse. I, like many of my friends, have been fan of Pokémon since we were kids, and we never mistreated animals because of it. In fact, I don' think that there's anyone who has ever mistreated an animal, because he was inspired by the Pokémon games. I don't know much about PETA (what I do know about it mostly comes from shows which exaggerate it for the sake of parody), but I do know that their criticism at the Pokémon games is completely unjustified.
PETA is not the only group to target Pokémon for the wrong reasons. Many Christian groups (guess I will be talking about religion after all) accuse Pokémon for being satanic, mostly because it often incorporates mystical, eastern concepts, which Christians often mistake for being Pagan-based. They also dislike the fact that Pokémon evolve, even though evolution in the Pokémon games is completely different from real-world evolution. I believe that the reason Religious groups often target these things is because they don't understand them, and in their opinion, everything they don't understand must be wrong somehow. Unfortunately, that's simply how religious fundamentalists are.