Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most comical over-the-top dystopias in all of science fiction. It is a strange and wonderful world whose “heroes” do not hesitate to end billions of lives to capture one villain, a sclerotic vision of the future where the human race is enslaved by the psychic corpse of its defeated god-emperor. It’s so miserable that his catchphrase – “In the grim darkness of the distant future, there is only war” – inspired the “grimdark” sci-fi genre.
However, this week it somehow got worse.
PETA – the animal rights group famous for its ridiculous stunts and claiming that monkeys can have intellectual property – has set its sights on the Games Workshop universe by writing an open letter to its CEO asking him to “consider wearing fur clothing.” remove your Warhammer characters at the next chance.”
Numerous Games Workshop characters wear fur in both the science fiction and fantasy worlds, not least the Space Wolves, the series of Viking-inspired space marines who tend to drape themselves in the pelts of alien wolves.
“These battle-hardened warriors are known for their martial prowess, but carrying the skins of dead animals requires no skill at all,” PETA’s Yvonne Taylor wrote.
And while we realize these are fictional characters, draping them in what appears to be a replica of a dead animal sends the message that wearing fur is acceptable – when in fact it has no more place in 2017 than in the year 40,000 .”
Many fans have taken offense at one of PETA’s claims – that “nothing on the bloody battlefields of Warhammer’s war-torn world can match the horrifying reality” that animals suffer in the fur trade. This claim is clearly false: Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most brutal science fiction creations in human history, featuring the space demons of Event Horizon shoulder to shoulder with the fauna of Alien, and humanity ruled by an evil galactic Spanish Inquisition. The fur trade is honestly the least of anyone’s woes.
PETA tried to go after the geeks back in 2011 when it called out Mario for wearing the Tanooki suit, which resembles a suit made from raccoon fur. PETA was seemingly quite serious about the whole thing and even released a flash game called Mario Kills Tanooki, but a few days later, after much criticism, the organization claimed it was all a joke.
Ars has asked Games Workshop for comment and will update this story if we get a response.
List image by Flickr Creative Commons/Duncan Macgregor