Ten days after the official launch of GTA V Online, the game’s creators are being petitioned due to the portrayal of extreme hunting and animal abuse in the game. Gamers are able at any time to take out their character’s frustrations on the local urban wildlife such as dogs and chickens, and a hunting option is available later on in the game. These features have parents, animal lovers and activists upset with the game developers.
At a certain point in gameplay, GTA V Online players will gain control over the character of “Trevor”; using this character, they must complete the “Strangers and Freaks?” mission, after which they are introduced to Cletus. Cletus is a hunting fanatic who teaches the gamer how to target and shoot coyotes, as well as car tires and satellites. With this basic training, gamers can travel to Bayview Lodge in the Paleto Forest and partake of many different hunting missions.
Grand Theft Auto, one of the most popular video games of all time, has a reputation as a violent, misogynistic game that allows its players to beat each other senseless or kill one another for profit. This is the first GTA release where the violence is not confined to the human race. Dogs, sharks, ducks, chickens, cougars, deer and other species are the target of violent hunting methods and even abuse that is unnecessary to the plot. The violent content of the latest GTA release has prompted an online petition to the game’s creator, RockStarGames, to tone it down.
More than 10 000 signatures have already been gathered via The Petition Site. Signatories accuse game creators of choosing profits over ethics, stating:
We the undersigned are appalled at the violence in Grand Theft Auto V, much of which is directed at animals. It is far too easy for gaming violence to cross over to real world violence–when the target is helpless to defend itself. Gaming violence against humans can not easily be duplicated in real life because of laws and social pressures that prevent such cruelty. The same, lamentably, cannot be said for animals.
People protesting the game are concerned that children and adults alike are being given poor social cues that make them think animal abuse is funny and unimportant. The animal rights group In Defense of Animals has gone so far as to call a boycott of GTA V because it believes that the game’s creators have painted a virtual target on the backs of real, living animals.
Petitioners say “Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular video games of all time. It’s time for its publisher to take some ethical responsibility for its content. Tell RockstarGames not to promote violence to animals in its games!” RockStarGames has already faced a great deal of backlash for its portrayal of animal violence and abuse in the game Red Dead Redemption, wherein players hunt and kill over 30 species of animal. The creators seem either oblivious to the protests over GTA V Online, or simply nonchalant about the frequent animal abuse and extreme measures of hunting portrayed in the game. The following videos show the hunting segment and the rampant abuse of a virtual dog.
Written by Mandy Gardner