The Android app Dog Wars, which lets players "feed, water, train and fight your virtual dog," certainly sounds distasteful. And now it's off the market, thanks to unlikely team of Alicia Silverstone and Michael Vick.
It's no surprise that longtime vegan Silverstone is against the game. According to E!, she says,
As a mom-to-be and someone who has adopted and loved rescued pit bulls. I join PETA's millions of members in imploring you to cancel this game immediately. If one dog dies as a result of this game, you will not forgive yourself.
But recovered dogfighter Michael Vick also had something to say:
I've come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street. Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it's important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app.
Despite these criticisms, Dog Wars manufacturer Kage Games sounded unrepentant in a statement:
Remember: It is just a video game. . . . Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke A Bowl . . . and maybe even Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.
It's true that many video games glorify cruelty to human beings, and so focusing on a dogfighting game while ignoring all of them seems a little myopic. And while E! speculates that the Android Market had pulled the game in response to pressure, Kage Games says on Twitter that they pulled the game themselves to make updates. They add, "It lives......Dog Wars lives! Making some updates we'll be back up shortly!" And so the Dog Wars wars continue.
Alicia Silverstone Tries To Muzzle Virtual Dog-Fighting Game (And Guess Who's With Her?!) [E! Online]
Vick's Message: Dogfighting Is No Game [Philly.com]
"Dog Wars" App Removed From Online Market [ABC4.com]