Founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco, PETA – which stands for 'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' – is a nonprofit corporation that has done much to raise awareness of the ill-treatment of animals all over the world. It is opposed to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and the use of animals in entertainment, but it also champions the vegan lifestyle and campaigns against the consumption of meat or fish, as well as the slaughter of animals which are regarded by many as pests.
The organisation's latest venture focused on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and while PETA has been criticised for opportunism in the past, it's fair to say that it has put an impressive amount of effort into this one.
Earlier this month, PETA issued a tweet that playfully mocked the “my uncle works at Nintendo” meme, posting 'leaked' images of the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 'Fighter's Pass' DLC character.
Before the wrestling fans out there get too excited, "Not a Nugget" isn't a tribute to the late, great Owen Hart, but a chick who packs some serious heat in his quest to remind people that "chickens are cool 3-dimensional animals, not food." He has previously appeared in some of PETA's other 'spoof' games.
PETA has even gone as far as to create a petition page that contains more information about the character – including the arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
Here's what the petition site has to say about the character:
For those who exploit and harm animals for personal gain, "Not a Nugget" is the definition of "a new foe." As a downloadable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he could use his wits, wings, and beak (plus a trick or two tucked under his feathers) to pummel opponents and really pack a punch. What's more, his peak physical skills would serve to send a positive message to millions of people around the world about the benefits of going vegan and being kind to animals.
"Not a Nugget" would show gamers around the globe that smashing speciesism is a worthwhile goal to fight for. He could even have his own custom stage—perhaps a farm packed with some of the horrifying, real-world threats that millions of animals are enduring right now. Most importantly, he'd help remind people that chickens are not nuggets.
However, while the campaign seems light-hearted enough, PETA has continued to push the petition on social media, even going as far as tagging in Nintendo of America and series director Masahiro Sakurai.
Many replies to the latest tweet – some of which have been hidden by PETA – highlight the hypocrisy of wanting an animal in a fighting game when the organisation has previously been critical of the Pokémon series because it encourages players to pit one animal against another in combat.
Nintendo is yet to acknowledge or respond to PETA's tweets or petition.