Music's most famous vegan, Morrissey, has a long history of crusading against the meat eaters of the world. In recent years, that mission has meant forcing venues where he is performing to go vegan under threat of cancellation and otherwise pushing a pro-animal-rights message in interviews. But the Smiths' song "Meat is Murder," the title track from the band's 1985 album, may be Moz's greatest contribution to the vegetarian and vegan cause.
Now, he and Johnny Marr have lent the song to PETA, which uses an 8-bit version of the tune to soundtrack a new arcade-style video game called This Beautiful Creature Must Die, a lyric from "Meat is Murder." In the game, players have to attempt to save animals before they are sliced to pieces by giant shredder blades. Fun!
This Beautiful Creature Must Die follows on the heels of other satirical PETA video game hits like Pokémon Black And Blue (Gotta Free 'Em All!), Revenge of the PETA Tomatoes (objective: throw tomatoes at fur wearers), and Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals. In This Beautiful Creature Must Die, a 2-D slaughterhouse is divided into four quadrants, and as cartoon pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows go by on a conveyer belt, players have to click on them to save them from certain bloody death (pro tip: you don't need to click the animals, just the quadrant where they pop up). Fail to save a single animal, and you get the "game over" screen, where your failure earns you a link to a petition and a horrifying video depicting animal abuse in farms and slaughterhouses set to the album version of "Meat is Murder."
"PETA's This Beautiful Creature Must Die has a fun, nostalgic vibe but also calls out animal agriculture as the biggest threat to human health, animals, and the environment today," PETA Vice President of Marketing Joel Bartlett said in a press release. "After mastering the game, players can save animals and the Earth in real life by going vegan."
It might seem like a stretch to call a game that takes place in a slaughterhouse "fun," but most video games involve shooting or otherwise killing people or some other living creature, so who are we to judge?
"This game is the biggest social crusade of all, as we safeguard the weak and helpless from violent human aggression," Morrissey said. "You don't get that from Pokémon Go."
Harsh words for Pokémon Go, which has teamed up with McDonald's to make every location in Japan a PokéStop. (That partnership probably wouldn't sit well with Morrissey—he went after the Buzzcocks when the band let McDonald's use one of their songs in a commercial for a chicken wrap.)
But similar to Pokémon Go, in which the objective is to catch 'em all, the mission in This Beautiful Creature Must Die is to save 'em all—an impossible feat, it seems, as the game appears to have no end and one can only click so much and so quickly.
As ever, the struggle is real.