The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization is picking a fight with Nintendo this week, and Switch launch title 1-2-Switch is to blame. After Nintendo garnered some press for challenging a real-life cow farm to a showdown in the collection’s milking minigame, PETA’s president took the developer to task for “sugarcoating the subject.”
A letter to Nintendo from Ingrid E. Newkirk, head of the animal rights organization, made it to Facebook yesterday. She doesn’t mince words, calling the game unrealistic in pretty explicit detail.
“Our staffers and activisits have recently played the cow-milking minigame for Nintendo Switch and realized you’ve taken all the cruelty out of milking,” Newkirk wrote. “We have more than 35 years of experience investigating dairy farms where cows are exploited for their milk, and it is NEVER that pleasant for these animals. Can we have some realism here, please?”
As a milking simulator, 1-2-Switch’s milking minigame doesn’t make much of an effort at presenting the activity in any realistic way. There are now cows on-screen during it; there’s no direct contact with the virtual udders. The faux-farmers representing each player do look pretty happy, but overall, “Milk” is an extremely abstracted version of the whole process.
PETA finds that abstraction to be a problem, as both Newkirk and the organization’s blog point out. A blog post that went up alongside the letter includes video from a Land O’Lakes supplier, on which PETA blew the whistle for its poor treatment of cows. There are also graphic details about what’s described as the horrific reality of the dairy industry: how mother cows are “violently inseminated” and ripped from their days-old children for their milk.
“We’d be happy to provide you with video footage of the filthy conditions that cows endure on farms for you to include in your game,” wrote Newkirk. “If you think that the gruesome nature of this would be too upsetting, we suggest that instead of sugarcoating the subject, Nintendo switch to simulating activities in which no animals suffer.”
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for its response to PETA’s frustrations. At this time, representatives of the company remain set to head to Vermont this week to play the minigame with members of Billings Farm and Museum, which similarly criticized Nintendo for making the milking process seem much easier than it is in reality.