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Depicting 'Man's Best Friend' as a Vicious Fighting Machine Sends a Dangerous Message, Says Group
For Immediate Release:April 22, 2010
Contact: Alicia Woempner 757-622-7382
Norfolk, Va. -- Today, PETA sent a letter to Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga Game Network, urging him to cancel plans to allow players to use dogs and other animals for fighting in his company's Mafia Wars Facebook game. In the letter, PETA points out that portraying pit bulls as fighting machines can lead to real-life abuse, as PETA describes in its blog.
"Depicting 'man's best friend' as a fighting machine can encourage the wrong type of people--those with no heart and no understanding of a dog's needs--to treat these wonderful animals as inanimate objects," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "If Mark Pincus--who named his company after his own beloved dog, Zinga--can't portray dogs as loyal and loving members of the family, we'd rather he left them out of the game altogether."
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga Game Network, follows.
April 22, 2010
Mark PincusFounder and CEOZynga Game Network, Inc.
Dear Mr. Pincus:
PETA is the world's largest animal rights organization, with more than 2 million members and supporters dedicated to animal protection. We are writing because complaints are already starting to come in to us that Zynga's popular Mafia Wars game is featuring vicious dogs, as well as other animals, for players to use in fighting. We urge you to leave animals out of this game because experience has taught us that portraying dogs and other animals as nothing more than living weapons encourages people to abuse animals in real life.
"Bully breeds" like your beloved late American bulldog, Zinga, are also the breeds of choice for dogfighters and thugs who want a "macho" animal to intimidate others, guard their property, or make them money by winning fights. Every day, PETA staffers meet dogs who have been trapped for years at the end of heavy tractor-trailer chains with nothing but bare patches of dirt and plastic barrels for shelter. These dogs are usually full of heartworms, emaciated, and scarred all over. They are often physically abused and starved, sometimes to death, for losing in illegal dogfights or for being "bad guards" or "not mean enough." The people who acquire them do so because they have been taught that having one of these dogs is "cool" and "tough," but they have no idea about the care and feelings of the animal they have enslaved.
Will you please reconsider perpetuating the image of pit bulls and other animals as fighting machines in Mafia Wars and decide against sending a dangerous message that it's somehow acceptable to force animals to fight, keep them chained, and deny them everything that is natural and important to them? Please, for the sake of dogs like Zinga, will you remove animals from your game? Please contact me so that I may inform our members of your decision. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,Tracy ReimanExecutive Vice President
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