Charlotte Gill

PETA’s Warhammer ban reveals the hypocrisy of its fake fur policy

PETA's Warhammer ban reveals the hypocrisy of its fake fur policy
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There are lots of problems with Warhammer fans. Bad haircuts, terrible dress sense, to name just two. These aren’t even stereotypes; as a little girl I went to the Games Workshop multiple times with my brothers, so have first-hand experience.

Still, I feel strangely defensive over Warhammer because it has been the victim of a vicious smear campaign. PETA has launched the most bemusing of attacks on the brand after spotting that some of its characters wear fur clothing. The Viking-style 'space wolves' have caused particular offence.

I should emphasise at this stage that the fur isn’t actually real. Warhammer, as its disciples will know, is made out of plastic, which fans lovingly glue together before painting on the finer details - like fur. Warhammer types are, in fact, probably some of the most artistic people on the planet. But I digress; the point is, they are not animal killers.

So why is PETA so angry? According to its CEO,

“Draping [Warhammer characters] in what looks to be a replica of a dead animal sends the message that wearing fur is acceptable…

Indeed, nothing on the bloody battlefields of Warhammer’s war-torn world could match the horrible reality that foxes, minks, rabbits and other living beings experience at the hands of the fur trade”.

It seems that for PETA, seeing is believing; even a replica of fur is sufficient to promote animal cruelty. This position is strange enough on its own, and that’s even before you listen to PETA’s campaign coordinator Kirsty Henderson, defending fake fur on a Spectator podcast last month. When asked by Isabel Hardman whether it’s ethical to wear such clothing, Henderson said:

“We all have a choice when we go out and buy a coat or a scarf, and we can choose whether to buy one that has been made from a dead animal or not… as long as we’re choosing the one that isn’t causing the death and the suffering for an animal, that’s the only thing really that matters”.

So, according to one PETA member, it’s perfectly fine to wear fake fur - nothing died, after all! But its CEO thinks it’s damaging when teenage boys paint fur on plastic toys? Something doesn't add up.

All of this simply confirms my belief that PETA, and organisations like it, are becoming increasingly deranged. I say this as someone who abstains from meat and cares about animals rights. But I cannot support the madness of PETA's antics.

Throughout its existence, PETA has only really succeeded at one thing, and that’s rubbing people up the wrong way. Aside from irritating the Warhammer community, most of its campaigns rest on the assumption that shock tactics work, whether that means plastering naked celebrities on billboards, or using adverts that reference the Holocaust.

The number of people becoming vegetarians and vegans is rising all the time, but how many of them would say this is because of organisations like PETA? Even among my veggie friends, there is a palpable disdain for the organisation, because it gives us a bad name. 'Animal rights activist' is now seen as synonymous with angry lefty. Though we are, for the most part, measured, considerate people.

For me, PETA’s shock antics have resulted in nothing - other than viewers looking away. Never does the organisation seem to consider that some might be swayed by more complicated arguments for animal rights. Climate change statistics come out all the time, pointing to the meat eating industry as a mass cause of emissions. Sure, statistics are not as sexy as Pamela Anderson’s breasts, but no one has ever told me the latter made them give up meat.

The assault on Warhammer is more than bizarre; it suggests to me that PETA has realised its approach is not working, and is now scraping the barrel for ideas. Is it, like the fur trade, running out of steam?