Or, to be more specific, that small, sculpted models of said Space Vikings stop being depicted as wearing fur. Or, to be even more specific, PETA UK have written to Games Workshop, makers of Warhammer 40,000 and its myriad table-top gaming models, asking them to cease depicting imagery of its myriad characters wearing animal fur and make them “fur free.”
That’s in quotation marks, because obviously, these models are already fur free in that they’re made out of plastic, resin, and metal. It’s just that some of them (say, the Space Wolves, the very Viking-inspired branch of the Space Marines that have a fondness for, well, actual space wolves) are depicted wearing fur pelts on top of their armour. Even that is too much in PETA’s eyes, who claim that it “sends the message that wearing fur is acceptable — when, in fact, it has no more place in 2017 than it would in the year 40,000.”
That’s silly enough, but the message continues, noting that “nothing on the bloody battlefields of Warhammer’s conflict-ravaged universe could match the terrible reality of the fur trade.” Guys, this is the franchise that portrays unspeakably grim catastrophes so casually it gave rise to the term “grimdark” as a storytelling trope! In a recent 40k campaign event, for example, one of the biggest planets in the Human Imperium, Cadia, was destroyed after the evil forces of Chaos (actual demons!) crapped out a mass of nightmarish horrors over the planet, then smashed a giant, ancient spaceship into it, and thenabsorbed the shattered remnants of the planet and most of its 850 millioninhabitants into a rift which was basically a portal to literal space hell. And that’s like, a Tuesday in the Warhammer universe. Nothing can be gained out of a grimdark point-scoring contest when your opponent is Games Workshop.
As PETA itself notes, there are plenty of actual horrors within the fur trade with regards to the abuse animals face. Choosing to make a play against fictional fur garments in a setting as preposterously absurd as the world of Warhammer 40,000 instead seems like a profoundly poor area of focus when it comes to championing animal rights. But given that PETA has a long history of awful stunt campaigns, it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising to hear that they would focus on something like this in the first place.