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Activists Hack Dog Fighting Videogame

Activists Hack Dog Fighting Videogame

 

So-called “animal rights activists” have hacked a controversial Android smartphone game and rigged it to send out mass text messages shaming the users.

The game, called “Dog Wars,” sparked outrage among animal activists earlier this year and the wave of complaints led to Google removing the game from the Android app market in April. The game can still be found on third-party sites, however, and it is these unauthorized download sites that are carrying the hacked version of the game.

The hacked game contains a trojan that sends out a text to all contacts in the user’s phone saying “I take pleasure in hurting small animals, just thought you should know that.”

There’s disagreement within any group of activists or advocates and I’m no stranger to arguing with the majority of the animal advocacy community. Usually, however, I find myself advocating that issues should be taken more seriously, not less seriously.

This is one instance though, where I feel that the “activists” behind hacking this game are more than misguided, they’re downright wrong. I remember shaking my head when many groups and individuals manufactured outrage about this game on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to complain to Google and eventually succeeded in having the game removed from the app market.

Of course the game is distasteful, but how much video game content isn’t distasteful? If a dog fighting video game promotes real life dog fighting, does a war game make people want to join the military? Are all the people who play Grand Theft Auto also murdering, car-stealing drug dealers? Of course not.

The US Supreme Court decided in June that video games are entitled to the same free-speech protections as other forms of media. That decision not only elevated video game content to a higher tier of legal protection, it also elevated debate about video games to the same tier of debate that we use for literature, film and stage drama.

This conversation may seem silly, but it’s important that we understand what we’re arguing about. Critics of the Dog Wars app have tried to turn a matter of poor taste into an ethical stance and in the process they’ve trivialized a whole branch of the animal rights debate.

The outrage surrounding the Dog Wars app is reminiscent of the outrage that surrounds all dog fighting scandals, especially the lingering resentment toward NFL player Mike Vick. Certainly real-life dog fighting is wrong, and of course it’s cruelty that can’t be ignored. But we are remiss when we fetishize our companion animals to the extent that we ignore other issues of animal cruelty. How many omnivores were suspiciously eager to criticize Mike Vick for fighting dogs as they chewed on a burger made of another tortured dead animal?

We need to take dog fighting seriously, but we don’t need to take it more seriously than we take other animal protection issues simply because we think dogs are cuter than other animals. When we put companion animals on a pedestal, we not only penalize other animals, but we find ourselves wasting valuable time debating bad taste when we could be fighting to save animals’ lives.

 

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Photo credit: Jetalone

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91 comments

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9:59PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Found your blog excessively interesting indeed. I really enjoyed studying it.
site

8:01AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

i think there must've been a better way but still...
good job to the hackers :)

1:04PM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

Well stated, Monica K.!

I am vegan for moral and ethical reasons, nonetheless, I agree with your comment: "Trivializing everyone else who cares about animals with your sneering comment 'How many omnivores were suspiciously eager to criticize Mike Vick for fighting dogs as they chewed on a burger made of another tortured dead animal?' just shows your arrogance, ignorance and self-righteousness!

Making a comparison of the viciousness of sociopath's to animal advocates's food choices is very disturbing, to say the least. MV, as far as I'm concerned, is a worthless piece of trash, and I'm appalled that, for many, his physical skills overshadow his horrendous, barbaric, cruel nature. I'll never feel an ounce of forgiveness for him. To suggest that animal activists are no better because of their food choices, is ignorance in extreme.


(In my previous comments I have two typos for the same word. I meant to say moral, not morale--sorry)

3:09PM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

mac your sense of rightness in this is wrong. what ever can be done drop by drop to work towards less violence and greater awareness is a positive thing. saying you dont like it because its manufactured outrage by burger eaters is simply a display of your unresolved anger. honestly. not going to bother reading your articles any more. you have a control issue mac. deal with it. also deal with your understanding of weak logic. your angry, controlling and not too bright.

11:12AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Equating dogfighting to war or car theft or drug dealing or any of the other self-destructive activities that humans engage in is just plain stupid! There is a vast difference between crimes against those able to defend themselves and crimes against the defenseless !In dogfighting the victims have no way to defend themselves, no choice, no way to run or hide, no voice to even ask for mercy! And how dare anyone who could say that when we demand appropriate punishment for the psychopathic, sociopathic cruelty of Michael Vick that we "fetishize our companion animals" pretend to be an advocate for animal rights! Trivializing everyone else who cares about animals with your sneering comment "How many omnivores were suspiciously eager to criticize Mike Vick for fighting dogs as they chewed on a burger made of another tortured dead animal?" just shows your arrogance, ignorance and self-righteousness! HOW DARE YOU! Animal torture is NEVER "a matter of poor taste" and I think that you should perhaps go hang out with your football buddies, cheer on your sociopathic sports "hero" and leave animal rights advocacy to people with true empathy for the suffering of the defenseless!

9:59AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

In spite of the Supreme Court's role to make decisions of justice for all, without bias, its decisions don't always play-out as such. Animals are not afforded the rights and the justice of humans--this needs to change.

It is the role of the *activists* to support their causes when justice fails. I do not support violence in any form, but what these hackers accomplished is a brilliant use of activism without violence. I commend their crafty use of technology in the fight against the human weapon of mass destruction. Animal abusers and those who get a kick out of violence towards animals cannot be reconded with intelligently or through justice because they lack a morale and ethical conscience, and many are drug personalities. Moreover, for-profit entities don't care about the morale fiber of humanity.

I fully support this type of appropriate activism, and I would be willing to commit the act myself, if I could.

9:52AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Thanks for sharing Mac, because now we have your measure. You are a person who likes to rationalize to yourself and to others that you actually have a belief system that includes fairness and humane treatment of animals.

Yes, some of us still are angry with Vick. Why? gee, he only tortured dogs by electrocution, drowning and other means, yet is now rewarded by people like you who rationalize that he is an A-OK guy.

Hacking this nastiness hiding behind a video game, right on, people! whoever you are! Wish I could have done it.

9:05AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Thanks for sharing and I believe we should thank these activists for taking a stand.

7:42AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Does Mac M know what an activist is? I don't think so. To elevate me and thousands of others who signed petitions to stop the sale of this depraved app is a little offf target although many like myself possibly wish we had the courage to be such, we do however try to do our bit legally to protect them who can't protect themselves in a society that seems to many to becoming more acceptable of of sick and decadent entertainment.
In my opinion the hackers were morally right to do so if not legally.

4:02AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Promoting any kind of violence is wrong and video games are but one part of the jigsaw that makes such violence acceptable and thus minimises the effect of conscience and civilization! One can only assume that Presidents and PrimeMinisters down the ages had some other stimulous to precipitate wars before the advent of mass dissemination tecnologies. Certainly the constant TV coverage of terrorist actions in Northern Ireland during the trouble led meny in the UK to dismiss the violence as parrt of the wallpaper of media presentation even when targets were hit on the mainland! Overt approval of dog fighting, rape. war any other form of gratuitous vilence is a sad reality of the switched on "culture " of today!

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