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"I'm a political prisoner

Trapped in a windowless cage

Cause I stopped the slaughter of turnips

By killing five men in a rage"
"Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit"

First, a disclaimer: This trope is not proof that all animal rights supporters are extremists, nor is their violence, in itself, proof that animal rights are baloney. This trope deals with fictional portrayals of animal rights extremists. They might be inspired by the antics of some real world groups, but by no means are all animal rights groups as insane as these fellows.

Animal rights' groups in television shows are frequently portrayed as complete lunatics, often with names that form silly acronyms. In many cases, they don't seem to care how many people get hurt -- often by their own actions -- as long as animals are okay. Sometimes even animals may be sacrificed for the cause. To them, it's perfectly reasonable and not the least bit ignorant or insensitive to compare animal suffering to human slavery and/or the Holocaust. They're more likely to fight Windmills rather than actual cruelty to animals.

Occasionally subverted, with the animal rights group used as a patsy for the true villains' plot, though the ignoramuses in the front organization usually believe in their own agenda whole-hog while taking the Big Bad's money.

A common role in fiction is to break into the lab of a Mad Scientist and release his genetic aberration or terrible virus or upset his delicate experiments, with catastrophic results. In some cases, this will be accidental or the activists well-meaning but misinformed, but in some they will know they're releasing a monster, and do it anyway. Expect particularly clueless members of these organizations to react to these beasties (or, indeed, standard dangerous animals such as tigers) with fawning coos and an apparent belief that the animal will somehow recognize them as an Animal Rights activist and not harm them. This belief will inevitably be rewarded with a very painful death moments later.

To some extent, Truth in Television: Extremist groups do exist, and have committed horrible crimes. Such incidents tend to be centred on the staff of high-profile animal testing laboratories or universities; for instance, it's well-documented that the group "Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty" attacked staff of Huntingdon Life Sciences, business partners of the organization, their families, and so on. (Wikipedia has a fairly well-documented article on them here).

Less violent versions of these groups in fiction are often based on the real-life group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). PETA's stunts form the basis of many examples of this trope (though, truth be told, not everyone will resent their being used as Butt Monkeys.) Their somewhat extreme views colour their portrayals; for instance, they are against guide dogs for the blind, indicating that they would completely segregate humans from other animals.

Note this is a somewhat explosive issue: Since it's about fictional examples, don't add "Truth in Television"; use the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment, and remember that most people involved with animal welfare and animal rights respect other people and the law, and feel that the stunts pulled by the extremists are hurting the movement's credibility. A Real Life section is provided, but is intended largely to frame how Real Life animal rights activists operate, and should be treated as a Useful Notes section.

See also Free the Frogs for a version set in schools. Most members of an Animal Wrongs Group will be Evil Vegetarians

Examples of Animal Wrongs Group include:


Anime & Manga

  • The Space Warriors from the Cowboy Bebop episode "Gateway Shuffle" were once a legitimate environmentalist group, but were taken over by a more radical leader. They wanted to save a "rare" Ganymede sea rat, and were willing to turn everyone on Ganymede into monkeys to do so (and an orbiting restaurant into little more than bullet holes).
  • The Elite Four in Pokémon Special planned on committing genocide in hopes of creating a Pokemon paradise. Ironically, Lance didn't even notice how much pain his Dragonite was in after it waited in lava for who knows how long while setting an ambush. Or how many Pokemon he and his group had injured/killed in the process.


Comic Books

  • Wonder Girl had to deal with an animal rights group who thought that hydras were nice friendly critters.
  • Polish superhero parody comic book series Likwidator intentionally embraces this trope and takes it to its logical extreme. The storyline consists mostly of the main hero wandering around killing evil people who mistreat nature -- eg. cut trees, work in environment-polluting factories, hunt, buy meat in the store, keep their dog on a leash... Most readers get gravely offended, which is probably the point.
  • One of the most blatant examples of this trope is Batman villain Ra's Al Ghul, who, in the comics and animated series based on them, has tried multiple times to wipe out more than eighty percent of Earth's population, because it would allegedly return Earth to a more stable ecosystem. However, the moments at which he really shows his Animal Wrongs side are when dealing with the menagerie of endangered animals he collects and keeps. In one comic in particular, he was shown to have had a henchman murdered because he accidentally killed a rare sort of tiger cub by feeding it chocolate, dooming its species to extinction according to Ra's.
    • Switch animals with plants, and Batman's other foe Poison Ivy fits pretty well. Depending on the Writer, though, she can be much more soft-hearted (for instance, creating an eco-friendly refuge for Gotham's orphans in the city park during the No Mans Land arc).
  • Subverted in Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man. Although Buddy Baker devotes his career to collaborating with like-minded individuals in disrupting fox hunts and freeing laboratory animals, he himself avoids the use of violence (except against a whaler and dolphin-hunter who pretty much dared him to do so). When one of his collaborators on a lab rescue mission blows it up with an incendiary bomb, killing a firefighter in the process, Buddy hangs up his costume and resigns from the Justice League. Conversely, Animal Man's big-business enemies, far from being the put-upon victims normally found in this trope, are far more brutal and lawless.
  • Parodied in the German comic Rudi with a group which protests the inhuman killing of vegetables.
  • The Authority is associated with a British secret service named 'Kev', a focus of a few comic books. Kev's buddy from his squad abandoned his post with a tame tiger instead of shooting it on orders. Later, both are implicated in the murder of a Japanese whaler.


Film

  • Animal rights activists are responsible for starting the pseudo-zombie plague in 28 Days Later, as they forcibly release infected test animals despite the scientist observing them directly stating that the animals are both infected and highly contagious.
  • 12 Monkeys features a post-apocalyptic world in which a plague has wiped out most of humanity and forced the survivors to live underground. New York City is filled with zoo animals and graffitti of twelve monkeys stating "We Did It." It's discovered that this is the insignia of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, an animal liberation group headed by the insane son of a virologist. It turns out that the Twelve Monkeys are a complete red herring. It's purely coincidental that they scheduled a mass zoo liberation around the same time as the outbreak. Their leader and his father had no part in leaking the plague. Another virologist working at the same institute spread the virus for his own deranged reasons.
  • In the film Black Sheep, the mutated sheep are released by one member of such a group. This may have had less to do with his loving sheep and more to do with his, ah, loving sheep.
  • The four jewel thieves of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back pretend to be crazy animal rights activists in order to provide cover and patsies for a diamond heist. Oddly, the script puts the animal testing lab in Boulder, CO, which is home to many real animal rights groups.
  • The Designated Hero of Man's Best Friend, a horror movie, is one of these. Against the wishes of her boyfriend, who tries to talk her out of it, she breaks into a legitimate scientist's lab and steals the titular genetically engineered killing machine in the shape of a dog. She gets away with it scot-free, even after it goes on a bloody rampage.
  • In Tremors 3, the hero is told that he's no longer allowed to hunt graboids, a dangerous, highly evolved earthworm-like beastie, because they made the Endangered species list, and gets chewed out by the suit who tells him this. Not long thereafter, the suit also gets chewed out. By said beastie.
  • In the backstory of Avatar, it is revealed that PETA was indirectly responsible for the RDA getting mining rights on Pandora. Given how RDA abuses that right during the film, this would make PETA an Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
  • The heroes of Jurassic Park 2 fit this trope to a T. Releasing dangerous animals en masse, nearly getting trampled by them as a result, and getting numerous people killed. Getting too close to wild animals, activating their territorial instincts, and just generally failing every rule for how to treat wild animals like they're going down a checklist. Acting as though people taking these totally unnatural genetically engineered dinosaurs out of their "natural" habitat is some kind of crime against nature, even though they don't naturally exist anymore in the first place and would wreck any ecosystem they were introduced to (how many normal animals did you see left alive on that island?). Unloading the gun that was going to be used to defend the humans from the rampaging T-Rex.
  • "What don't we eat? Red meat! Why don't we eat it? It's murder!"

Literature

  • The Society of the Evening Star from the Fablehaven series could be interpreted as this, since they believe that demons and other abominations should be free. However, their leader apparently wants to unleash the demons because it's going to have to happen at some point, and he wants to get it over with.
  • The Mercedes Lackey short story Last Rights features Animal Liberation activists wanting to free the re-created dinosaurs from an experimental park. One discovered that an apatosaurus that doesn't notice you can squash you good, another that velociraptors are not your new friend, and the sole survivor that triceratops are bad-tempered and surprisingly fast -- but fortunately, can't climb trees.
  • In the Tom Clancy novel Rainbow Six, an environmentalist group plots the destruction of the entire human race aside from themselves. Taking them to bizarre levels of Strawmanship, the activists gleefully discuss how much fun they'll have hunting elephants and lions once the rest of the human race isn't making them endangered. Their comeuppance comes when the titular team destroys their hideout, forces them to strip naked and abandons them in the jungle to fend for themselves without any technology whatsoever. According to one of the team's members (a special forces survivalist), they have a very slim chance of survival.
  • S.M. Stirling wrote a trilogy of sequels to the first two Terminator films in which Skynet's plans to destroy humanity are knowingly aided and abetted by a group of self-identified "Luddites", wilfully blind to the fact that they are serving a machine which has no particular use for the natural ecosystem and might well destroy it as inconvenient after it triumphs.
  • Much of the tension in Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby revolves around whether animal rights fanatic Oyster will acquire power over life and death.
  • The antagonist in Saints at the River is Luke Miller, a pissed-off environmentalist that believes that building a temporary dam to recover the body of a drowned child (and thus alter the river flow) would set a precedent that would enable further damage to the environment. Maggie, the journalist who is the protagonist in the story, returns to her hometown to chronicle the dispute between the townsfolk who want to recover the body by building the dam and the environmentalists, led by Luke, who try to thwart the plan. Luke is depicted as a misanthropic Cloudcuckoolander who believes that nature, particularly the titular river, is the only thing in the world that's pure.
  • in John Ringo's Posleen War Series, "Greens" conspire to sabotage the war effort and let most of humanity get killed by a Horde of Alien Locusts that eat anything organic on invaded planets, and then swarm to others once the biosphere collapses. See also "Anvilicious" and "Strawman Political".
    • Of course, the movement was founded for the sole purpose of doing this, so...
  • A Expanded Universe book featuring Godzilla had a brief blurb that Greenpeace wanted Godzilla declared endangered.
  • Played with in Wicked, where the protagonist joins a revolutionary group working for the rights of Oz's Talking Animals. Their ultimate goal? Kill the Wizard. They are for the most part, in the right, and the Wizard really is a bastard. And of course, the animals they're defending are in danger of being treated as ordinary animals, which they object to. With their voices. The ones normal animals don't have.
  • The novelized version of Tom Clancy's End War has a terrorist group led by a guy named Green Vox. They're an environmental group and during the Soviet invasion of Canada decide to blow up the oil fields with NUCLEAR WEAPONS... because oil is polluting the environment!
  • The CHERUB Series has several groups: Help Earth! from The Recruit and Divine Madness and the Animal Freedom Militia, Animal Freedom Army, and Zebra Alliance from Man vs Beast.
  • Woggle in Ben Elton's Dead Famous is one of these, to the extent that he believes disease-spreading vermin -- such as fleas and lice -- is unfairly put-upon. Although he torments the other members of the Big Brother-style show he's put on with his loathsome self-righteousness and horrific concept of hygiene, the producers are able to make him the audience's favourite by selectively editing footage so that the other housemates come off as even worse than him (which admittedly isn't that hard since they're a pretty horrible bunch to begin with). When against the housemates' expectations he isn't immediately voted out they immediately clock what's happening and demand that the producers get rid of him otherwise they'll walk out. So the producers release evidence they have that Woggle took part in an anti-hunt demonstration in which he savagely beat the hell out of a fifteen-year-old girl and left her with brain damage, and the police promptly come a-calling for Woggle.
  • Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant gives us R.V., a hippie who buys so much into animal liberation that he tries to free a wolf-man from his cage. The wolf-man thanks him by biting his arms off at the elbow. In R.V.'s defense, it's hinted he's on shrooms at the time.
  • Inverted in Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox: the Extinctionists are a group who believe humans are so superior to animals, all animals should be killed unless they directly benefit humans. Cows, for example, are kept alive because they can provide meat and milk.
  • Oryx and Crake mentions an incidence of a fanatic animal rights group breaking into a chicken factory to liberate the inhabitants. This is seen as hilarious by pretty much everyone, since the "chickens" in question are actually ChickieNobs, a highly genetically engineered form of chicken that lacks a brain or indeed a central nervous system and, as one character notes, "can't even walk", since they haven't got legs.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novel Flinx in Flux features as its primary antagonists a fanatical ecoterrorist group who believe in destroying all forms of "exploitation" of the natural order by humans. Their current target: a small genetic engineering firm working on the planet Longtunnel, which is renowned for the plasticity of its native lifeforms. Flinx gets involved when he accidentally rescues one of the company's researchers, the lovely and talented Clarity Held, who was kidnapped, interrogated, beaten, and left for dead on Alaspin. The group later mounts a full-scale armed assault on the Longtunnel facilities, and eventually tries to capture Flinx himself, once they learn what he is. In this final battle, they pull a Nice Job Fixing It, Villain by accidentally breaking the mechanism keeping Pip asleep.
  • In Susan Conant's Bloodlines, a young woman who's been listening to an Animal Wrongs Group's propaganda steals the protagonist's beloved Alaskan malamute, Rowdy, at a dog show and turns him loose. Luckily, she does so inside the building, and Rowdy is recovered safely. The protagonist's terror that he might's been set free outside -- right next to a busy highway -- is very potent until then, however, and she later chews the girl out six ways from Sunday for putting him in danger, at one point asking her why she isn't running around setting peoples' CHILDREN loose in the woods?
  • Fate of the Jedi has a droid wrongs group in it. As does the Holonet News site with the headline "Droid Rights Activists Decry Brilliant Missiles". Unfortunately for this group, the Mechanical Liberation Front, they accidentally release these brilliant missiles, killing themselves and clearing a 25 kilometer square area around the plant.


Live Action TV

  • Animal rights terrorist groups have turned up a few times in British crime dramas.
    • One episode of Spooks involving an animal rights group who instigated a bombing campaign against vivisectionists that made Al Qaeda look like a cheerleading squad.
    • Similarly, one episode of Ashes to Ashes had an animal rights extremist who wasn't beyond throwing a firebomb at a twelve-year old.
    • An episode of Bergerac almost seems even-handed in comparison. Three activists release a bunch of plague-carrying monkeys but the only people infected are themselves, the death of one (who was dating Bergerac's daughter) is close to Tear Jerker territory and another has enough sense to turn himself in and get treatment. The group's leader is slightly more extreme but still non-violent and basically surrenders because the police threaten to shoot a dog if she doesn't. (Makes sense in context...)
    • They're pretty popular in American crime dramas, to supply them with murderous zealots and occasional Red Herrings. Law and Order in particular is quite fond of going to this well.
    • A storyline in Between the Lines had an animal rights group planting bombs, unaware that they were being manipulated by a competitor of their main target. It ends up in a murder-suicide with a big bomb
  • Casualty has a long history of presenting animal rights groups as terrorists, who blow up laboratories, people who work in laboratories, the children of people who work in laboratories... One season premiere involving a bomb on a bus was originally going to have Islamic militants as the villains but it was changed to animal rights people because they were worried about offending Islamic militants. (No-one cares about insulting animal rights activists. And real-life Islamic militants are scarier.) They were actually on their way to blow up something relevant but the bomb went off prematurely.
  • An episode of Tremors: The Series has an animal rights group trying to get graboids declared an endangered species, and the Perfection Valley residents' co-existence with the albino graboid El Blanco as dangerous to its health. The group's leader wasn't above non-fatally poisoning El Blanco to give them an artificial smoking gun, but upon her actions being revealed, the rest of the group leaves in disgust.

    This episode gets funny when you realize that:
    1. El Blanco is already a protected species and
    2. The residents of Perfection have ended up protecting the graboid from harm a few times (when it's not saving them by attacking the Monster of the Week).
    • Most people miss the part that makes the entire series a Take That at eco-kooks; "El Blanco", the "protected" graboid... is STERILE. The reason that the residents of Perfection have no trouble coexisting with it is because it will never complete its life cycle and produce shriekers, assblasters, and therefore more graboids. The greens are bleeding their hearts out over a critter that is, in a genetic sense, already dead.
  • The Mentalist: An animal rights group is suspected of murdering a professor who is a part of an experiment that tests on animals. It turns out they weren't the culprit either, but the audience learns earlier that the experiment is inhumane for both animals and humans.
  • Subverted in a third-season episode of Veronica Mars. She suspects a group of committing a crime, but finds out they're generally pretty good people. She also tricks a Ted Nugent Expy into wearing a shirt saying "Meat is Murder".
  • In Dollhouse Caroline Farrell (who will become Echo) first comes to the notice of Rossum Corporation (the people working closely with the Dollhouse) when she breaks into one of their labs to record the mistreatment of experimental animals there. When her boyfriend points out numerous fetuses in jars and evidence that human experimentation is occurring, and she merely scowls and goes back to fawning over the monkeys.
  • An Animal Wrongs Group frees a genetically engineered monster in the Fringe episode "Unleashed."
  • This was done in Monster of the Week episodes of the The X-Files, before the Myth Arc grew big enough.
    • Main example in Darkness Falls, which ironically won an award from the EMA because of its "environmentalist message".
      • To be precise, the Monster of that episode is a species of photosensitive tree mites capable of swarming and killing a score of humans that were released from hibernation by loggers illegally cutting down old-growth trees.
    • In Fearful Symmetry. The WAO ("Wild Again Organization") is suspected of releasing an elephant from a zoo whose cages are too small to make the animals comfortable. It turns out to be that the first case wasn't their fault. Later, when one of the WAO members attempts to release a tiger to force the Government to shut down the zoo, the tiger kills him.
  • Numb3rs had one of these, who accidentally murdered a professor (when his partner learned of it later, he was appalled). It turned out that he was schizophrenic and thought animals had greater "spirits" then humans; he basically acted independently from the main animal rights group.
  • Whale Wars focuses on a real-life group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose ships forcefully intervene with Japanese & Faroese whaling and bluefin tuna fishing.
  • An NCIS episode had a whale rights activist attempt to kill an entire submarine crew because he believed the SONAR they used was hurting the marine life. They do make it clear, though, that he has no connection to the protesters outside the base, whose biggest threat was being inconvenient.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, when Dick accidentally hits a chipmunk with his car. He is so distraught that he becomes a complete environmentalist nut. Among other things, he makes Sally throw out all of her leather shoes and tries to free the lobsters at a fancy restaurant. At the end, he releases the chipmunk back into the wild. He hits and kills an endangered peregrine falcon with a rock to prevent it from eating his chipmunk.
  • Monster Warriors had an episode that dealt with a group of people protesting them fighting and destroying the monsters, with the leaders of the group being the parents of one of the warriors. Needless to say, they changed their tune when the monsters attacked them (although a few still bitch about it during the attack)
  • An animal rights' group in Medium is actually quite reasonable (they wanted to make sure a slaughter house was following regulations).
  • In Castle, a victim owned a male body-products company which was coming under fire from animal rights activists, and the crime scene contains the word 'murderer' written in the victim's blood on a mirror. Subverted; most of the activists are just 'average everyday tree-hugging vegetarians', the 'violent' one they get in as a suspect comes off as just being an otherwise ordinary guy (albeit one with a fondness for attacking the property and people he was protesting against with fake blood) and it turns out he didn't do it anyway, the suspect having a concrete alibi and the actual murderer having staged the crime scene to throw the police on the wrong scent.
  • Averted in an episode of Psych titled, appropriately, "Meat is Murder, but Murder is also Murder." Turns out it wasn't the vegetarian vigilantes at all, just an ambitious assistant who wanted the dead man's job.
  • In the first episode of Saxondale, Tommy encounters a pack of these types protesting his clearing a factory of it's pigeon infestation. One of them is a bit unhinged and cuts his arm with a large knife. Tommy notes that he is 'now legally entitled to use reasonable force in a proportional response.'

 Protester: What's that meant to mean?

[Tommy shoots him in the knee-cap with a pellet gun. He goes down, screaming in pain]

Tommy: Just that, I suppose. Anyone else want to ask what that means? [Not entirely surprisingly, they don't]


Music

  • Aqua's music video for their song "We Belong to the Sea" pokes fun at this trope... Lene runs grabs a goldfish in a bowl and runs from pursuers for the entire video, until the end where she successfully flings it into the sea. Never mind that goldfish are freshwater fish, the video ends with a shark's fin cruising across the ocean!
  • The page quote is from a Folk Comedy song about a vegetable wrongs activist.


Newspaper Comics

  • In Bloom County, Opus the penguin failed to find his mother due to an Uzi-toting animal rights group breaking into the animal testing lab that he broke into, kidnapping him, and then leaving him in the ice-cooler of a 7-11 because "they're on a bit of a shoe-string budget-wise."
    • On another occasion, he mistook Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior for an Antarctic-bound cruise ship with neighbor, septuagenarian and "fellow environmental extremist" Mrs. Limekiller.
  • German caricaturist Markus once drew one of them protesting the slaying of dragons - on stage during a Richard Wagner opera.

Tabletop Games

  • The only possible way to describe the Ashbound in the Dungeons and Dragons Eberron setting, overlapping with Well-Intentioned Extremist. These are people who believe anything other than living in a cave is inherently evil. Because one of their early members turned into a lich to aid their agencies, and after she was destroyed there was a bumper season, they concluded all arcane magic was equally evil. The Faiths of Eberron supplement points out that slightly less monomaniacal more flexible individuals might have considered that after said lich caused severe ecological damage, the bumper season may have been a result of the balance reasserting rather than a sign that all wizards are using powers that risk severely crippling nature (you have to be at least level 17 to access that kind of thing).
  • Greenwar from Aberrant.
  • There are some traits of this in Monsterpocalypse's Green Fury. Only now they have dinosaurs. Dinosaurs as big and powerful as Godzilla.
  • A more humorous example is the "Sierra Club" secret society in Paranoia.
  • Quite a few of these exist in Shadowrun, some of them with connections to toxic shamans.


Video Games

  • Steer Madness is an indie game where you play an anthropomorphic cow who joins an Animal Wrongs Group; setting test animals loose from a laboratory is one of your missions.
  • The Cult of Planet in Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire is kind of like this, except they are defending an environment that is more than capable of defending itself, and believe their cause so strongly they would gladly let humanity go extinct to preserve Planet. (Of course, they can convince Planet not to kill them by doing this, and in fact lend them aid in the form of slightly more docile -- to them -- wildlife.)
  • Nippon Ichi's Phantom Brave spoofs this with Canary, who is trying to start up an Animal Rights group named H.A.R.M. (Human Activists for Rare Monsters). He and a circus manager mistake the magical (but mute) gnomes known as Putties for non-sapient beings. The Putty, despite being caged, enjoys its leisurely life and wanders back in, prompting Canary to outright abduct it. Once recovered, though, the Putty wishes to go with Marona instead. He reluctantly goes back into the cage but escapes on his own later, to rejoin you on your island.
  • In the second World of Warcraft expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, there is a new faction called D.E.H.T.A. (Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals). Most of their quests involve brutally killing animal hunters and poachers (Their leader gives you brownie points for turning in the hunter's ears!).
    • As a bonus, walking into the small D.E.H.T.A camp within a few minutes of killing an animal results in your becoming a pasty smear on the ground when the entire camp rushes you with Animal Wrong warcries. (This can, however, be averted by taking a swim before approaching the camp.)
    • There's an interesting example of a Double Standard in their actions. On Nedar, Lord of Rhinos, the quest-giver notes with some regret that "It is a rare thing that D.E.H.T.A. would ever call for the death of an animal, but Ned's tainted rhino must be disposed of...", while he has no such reservations about sending you to kill Ned himself.
    • The presence of this faction is an intentional satire of the game's players, as a quarter or more of all quests elsewhere in the world, including some in the very same zone, involve the slaughter of animals for everything from food to spell components to "for the lulz".
      • To make the message completely unambiguous, the "loot crazed" hunters D.E.H.T.A targets spout phrases like "Just fifty more hooves and I'll have the new gun!" and "I wonder what Nesingwary will give me for your hide!", mimicing players' thoughts.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, Elves are essentially a Plant Wrongs Group -- cut down too many trees, and they will invade you and eat any of you that they manage to kill. They also get upset if you trade anything made out of wood or has wood decoration. Even if it's the wooden stuff you bought from them earlier. [1]
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics a 2, one quest early in the game involves donating money to a monster's rights group, aiming to raise awareness of monsters that are endangered due to overhunting. A notice later in the game reveals that the group has come under fire, as one of their campaigns to protect the endangered "Cluckatrice" caused an increase in poaching, as more hunters are now aware of their existence.
    • The resultant quest chain reveals that the monster's rights group is actually a front for Khamja, the Big Bad of clans, who themselves were poaching the birds and engineered the campaign as a way to raise demand.
  • In Fallout: Tactics, a Jane Goodall Expy releases deathclaws. No points for guessing what happens to her.
  • City of Heroes has the Devouring Earth. Their MO involve propaganda, protesting, arson, kidnapping, indoctrination, mutation, animation, homicide and genocide.
  • While most of the hippies in Kingdom of Loathing can be considered members, the CARNIVORE operative is explicitly one. Most of the hippies at least have no problem with pet ownership. Unfortunately for said pets.
    • The CARNIVORE operative drops a membership button when you beat him; wearing it enrages monsters so much that they get stronger, just to beat up this jackass from the animal rights group.
  • Played for Laughs (like everything else) in Overlord II: The elves, already overly emo in the first game, have become hippies bent on saving magical creatures from the magic-hating Glorious Empire - but only the cute fuzzy ones. As the titular Evil Overlord, one of the first things you do is march into their arctic preserve and start clubbing baby seals.
  • In Avernum 5 there is the Circle of Life cult which breed various nasty critters and release them back into their (newly settled) natural habitat, much to the displeasure of others. However when the group is confronted it shown they are quite pacifistic.
  • Pokémon Black and White versions feature as the main antagonist force Team Plasma, whose intent is to make trainers give up their Pokemon in order to release them back into the wild, using captured Pokemon to do so. Getting a Released to Elsewhere vibe?
    • It turns out Team Plasma's Man Behind the Man, Ghetsis, just wants to outlaw the use of Pokemon for everyone but himself, making it pretty easy to take over the world. Most members aren't aware of this, even their figurehead of a leader (Ghetsis's son, N). It's also subverted in that said leader is a pretty good guy, just misguided. A lot of the members also turn out to truthfully have joined because they had Pokemon's best interests at heart.
  • Thetis from Mega Man ZX Advent, who wants to use his powers to punish every person on earth for all the sea creatures they've killed with their incessant water pollution.

Web Comics

  • Sluggy Freelance has had a few panels with PETA members attempting to "rescue" Bun-Bun. Hilarity and stab wounds ensued.
  • Subverted in Templar, Arizona. A group of animal rights activists are picketing a restaurant, screaming and throwing trash... but considering that the guy who owns the restaurant is a Magnificent Bastard who lovingly serves up only endangered and cute things such as poached (the cooking method) condor eggs and braised newborn puppies, it's completely justified. Though the owner notes, as he finishes reading off the day's menu, "I'll be back tomorrow. I do so enjoy our little visits. And I suspect that you do, too."
  • Gordito's Father in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja had his guns jammed by a PETA operative so he would be killed by the dangerous animals he was supposed to shoot in his sharp-shooting act that was decreed to be cruelty to animals. (Of course, stuffing a bunch of animals into a cannon and firing them all out so that they can be shot just might fulfill anyone's standard for animal cruelty.) The reason the circus had gotten away with it up to that point was because they used rabid animals that were going to be killed anyway. Just FYI.
  • Order of the Stick: Leeky Windstaff, an evil Druid who animates the trees of a city park to rebel against their "mewling city dweller" masters.
  • Housepets has a whole arc that centers around two guys employed by PETA. However, while one fits this trope well, the other is a far more nuanced character; as well, the arc is a criticism of PETA specifically (the sane one notes that they let him join without a background check).
    • And in the Housepets universe, pets are sentient beings that freely choose to live with the humans. In the end, police dogs arrest the Peta people. And Then It Gets Weird...The PETA man is transformed into a Welsh Corgi ...
  • The Crocomire Hunter, a main character in Planet Zebeth fits this quite well. He goes into fits of sobbing and/or plots for revenge when an enemy creature (yes, they are referred to as enemies, even though many are friendly or at least unassuming) is killed. Pretty much all other main characters have no sense of value for the enemies' lives, so this happens often.
  • Cyanide and Happiness contains a goldfish rights activist. And "fur is murder!", of course.
  • Something Positive has a parody of this mentality in the Teddy Bear Liberation Front, whose members assault plushies for having sex with, yes, stuffed animals.
  • Living With Insanity featured an arc where an animal wrongs group with the acronym ANAL tried to liberate the cat. (It starts here.) The result was a giant hammer and stabbing
  • The Japanese Beetle used this a couple of times. One arc had the Militia for Ethical Animal Treatment stop the eponymous hero's battle with a Kaiju by pelting him with "Bricks of Love" and trying to let it go free (it ate their leader). A later story had an aged hippie concoct a formula that made anyone who ate meat suffer "sympathetic pains", usually manifested as violent reactions followed by blackouts; Ken thwarted him by injecting him with his own formula, then making him eat a soy burger, causing him to feel the same sympathetic pains.
  • Pierrot in Spacetrawler is mostly portrayed sympathetically, but he arguably crosses a line when he saves a cage full of furryites (stated to be vicious killers) from being eaten... by setting them free in the middle of a crowded restaurant. It's all played for Black Comedy.
  • Arc of Suicide for Hire would rather face a Cthuluian armageddon than PETA's zealots.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has this guy.


Western Animation

  • A bunch of college students in an episode of Pinky and The Brain free laboratory animals, and then immediately toss them into the wild to fend for themselves... usually in the wrong habitats, in part thanks to completely misidentifying the species. This includes taking the titular laboratory mice and tossing them out of a plane into the Amazon Jungle.

 "Can mice fly?"

"Sure, just like monkeys."

  • PETA in South Park was depicted as a bunch of zoophiles who thought having a cow as a sports mascot was degrading.
    • In the episode "Free Willzyx", animal activists shot down a group of police officers, border patrol officers, and an innocent bystander to get a whale to Mexico. Worse yet, the reason, which the animal liberation group was unaware of, was that the whale was being transported to Mexico not to get it to the ocean, but to the moon. It got there. As you might have expected, it didn't last long. The episode was parodying the movie Free Willy.
    • South Park also had its own way with Whale Wars in an episode in season 13, satirizing them as media whores who weren't being nearly extreme enough. When Stan joins their crew and starts using actual terrorism methods to fight whalers, the only thing that people seem to notice is how this makes the show interesting to watch for once as well how many ratings the new show is getting.
      • In a twist, Stan was justified (the Japanese were killing the protestors).
  • An episode of The Powerpuff Girls had an animal rights group try to stop the PPGs from "harassing" Mojo Jojo, i.e., stopping him from committing crimes. The girls then helped them move Mojo into the wild.
  • Futurama had a slightly different spin on it. The loony animal rights group in "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" decides that the best way to save a group of penguins that's breeding too rapidly is to break out the guns and declare it penguin-hunting season. This is, in fact, a very valid strategy if one values species' health over individuals' welfare. This then subverted by a shift from an animal rights group to a group of red-neck hunters
    • Futurama also played the trope straight with Mankind for Ethical Animal Treatment (MEAT), a PETA knockoff that starts off protesting the Popplers and then ends up thwarting the Planet Express crew's plan to solve the interplanetary crisis that ensues without Leela getting eaten.
      • This is part of an elaborate Running Gag. The leaders of both the above groups are the members of the Waterfall clan. Free Waterfall Jr. is the first, in the Popplers episode, and his father swears to avenge his death at the end when Lrr (of the planet Omicron Persei VIII) eats him. The father in question, Free Waterfall Sr., is the leader in "Birdbot". When he dies, his father swears revenge. Old Man Waterfall, the elder in question, serves as Zoidberg's civil rights attorney in a later episode, is then killed, and his Straw Feminist great-granddaughter swears revenge. (She showed up again, and when she did, she was toast.)
        • Her appearance is in the last movie, this time being telekinetically strangled by The Dark Ones. Her brother Hutch, a homeless bum and member of the Legion of Mad Fellows, never witnesses her death, only prying her feminecklace from Fry's brain that was lodged there in an unrelated incident. And so we see the last of the clan, to be killed in the new series.
    • When Leela protested that the activists couldn't expect everyone to conform to their standards, Free Waterfall Jr. corrected her; in fact they could, on the basis that they taught a lion to eat tofu. Pan right to an emaciated lion, which coughs once, pathetically.
  • The central characters in I Am Not an Animal are released by one of these groups.
  • Godzilla: The Series had a Kaiju liberation group called S.C.A.L.E. (Servants of Creatures Arriving Late to Earth) that believed kaiju and other mutants to be the future of evolution and try to free all the monsters from Monster Island. Their leader was so devoted, she was even willing to let the creatures eat her.
    • How ironic that it was one of those very monsters that helped herd the rest to the island.
    • There's also the point that Monster Island was created so the monsters could live in peace without harming humans or getting in confrontations with the military and pretty much a Kaiju nature reserve.
  • A subtle version is used on King of the Hill, Bobby accidentally knocks out a whooping crane while on a snipe hunt; while trying to secretly bury it, they are harassed by not only an unnamed animal rights group but a park ranger as well. Later, while try to bury it in a field, the animal rights "hippies" chase them off decrying them as murders while tearing down plant life and stepping on a bird's nest, crushing several eggs.
  • In one episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, the People's Animal Freedom Front liberates Magilla Gorilla from Peeble's Pet Shop (running over a dog in the process). By the end of the show, they've dumped the obnoxious ape out in the woods somewhere after suffering through many, many Incredibly Lame Puns.
  • In The Simpsons episode Lisa the Tree Hugger, Jessie the environmentalist tells her "I'm a level five vegan. I won't eat anything that casts a shadow."
  • In the Itchy and Scratchy short "Screams from a Mall," Itchy nails Scratchy's feet to an escalator, causing his fur to rip off, then puts the fur up for sale. Scratchy nabs the fur back from a customer and drapes it over himself, whereupon a group of activists beat him up with their "Fur is murder" signs, despite it being his own fur.
  • Inverted in an episode of Family Guy where Brian tries to start an animal rights group. It doesn't last long because Brian tells the audience that in China people EAT DOGS. Lois wonders what they taste like, then the audience chases Brian just to get a taste.
  • An episode of American Dad had Hayley falling in with an environmentalist group whose leader insists that he's a "tree born in a man's body" and "wears" nothing but a potted plant. He also tries to blow up the new mall, but only succeeds in destroying Francine's muffin kiosk and Klaus' human body from the main plot.
  • Parodied in an episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, where a group called "B.A.A.A." (Because Animals Are Amazing) shows up at the school to protest the vaccinations that the school is giving its students. Keep in mind that this is apparently standard procedure for Charles Darwin.


Real Life

  • On the issue of animals rights organizations in real life, three main categories are listed below. In practice, not every group will fit neatly into one category and there is some overlap, so don't use it too avidly. The three categories, in order of increasing strength, are:
    • Animal welfare groups: Usually outside this trope. These groups seek to minimize the suffering of animals, but don't object to animals being kept as pets or considered the property of their owners, and vary on opinions regarding animals as food, for testing (where the potential benefits may be sufficient to justify it), or other such uses, provided they are treated decently throughout. They just don't want animals to suffer needlessly. This site gives a good overview of the animal welfare philosophy. As a general rule, these groups are non-violent, act within the law, and genuinely care about animals and people. The only common ground between them and the groups in this trope is the concern over animals. This is generally where the ASPCA and most Humane Societies and local animal shelters fall.
    • Animal rights groups: Often resemble the mild versions of this trope. These groups seek to end some or all connection between animals and humans. Their goals vary from simply ending animal testing and meat-eating, to also ending the use of working or breeding animals, or circuses, with the most extreme ones seeing any ownership of animals as no better than owning humans. While they still mostly operate within the law, animal rights groups are usually a bit more provocative in their advocacy than animal welfare groups; these actions tend to be the basis for the milder fictional portrayals. PETA, discussed above, is probably the best known group of this flavour. When these groups are criticized for "valuing animals more than people" it's usually in the sense of insulting people (such as the common feminist criticism of PETA for objectifying women in advertising) rather than actually physically harming them or their property, unlike...
    • Animal liberation groups: Resemble the more extreme versions of this trope, except these groups exist in real life. These groups want animals "freed" from human "exploitation" and they want it right now, whatever the cost. Their means to this end can include attacks on anyone connected with, or even related to people connected with, farms (especially fur farms) and animal testing labs, and, more rarely, zoos, circuses, and the like. Here you'll find veganarchists and the ALF; the people who aren't afraid of destroying property, or harassing and threatening researchers and their families. Some of these groups are even considered terrorist groups. Wikipedia gives a good overview on the animal liberation movement. The worst ones even go so far as being Too Dumb to Live.
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