Meat on the Internet is possibly the greatest portal through which the giants of the meat industry get to our heads. Two of the greatest ways that they do this through the Internet are advertisements and online gaming.
We always see animal products in Internet advertisements. Our screens are constantly plagued by flashy, annoying sidebars about everything meat – from McDonald’s price reduction of their Angus beef wrap to diet companies’ flaunting of their new pre-packaged, reduced-calorie hamburgers. We may all despise most advertisements and immediately X out almost all pop-ups, but whether we notice it or not, or want it to or not, these ads still stay in our minds when we go grocery shopping.
You may not think of it at first, but online gaming is just as big a flaunter of meat as advertisements. There are hundreds of free online flash games in which players must accomplish simple tasks directly relating to meat, such as stealing as many chicken nuggets as possible from a virtual man whenever he looks away. There are also many games in which kids customize animal-product foods such as pizzas. In one particular flash game, called “Burger Restaurant”, the player must make hamburgers for as many customers as possible in a limited amount of time.
Another example of one of these games is a mini-game in the popular virtual world Club Penguin, in which you catch as many fish as possible with your penguin character. The fish in the game even looks terrified. A person might argue that the game is simply displaying the natural eating of fish by penguins, making the game more “realistic”; however, I would counter that argument by pointing out that in Club Penguin, you are the penguin – therefore, in a way, you are the one eating the fish, which is just what a child might think to do after playing this game. This game, like all other games containing animal products, is seemingly innocent but indirectly a huge driving force in what turns people to meat.
Meat and seafood appear in tons of games even when they are not the main focus of the game, such as bacon on the plates of virtual people in a virtual restaurant. Companies like Taco Bell also pay game-makers to put their products in games, an example of subliminal messaging and underhanded advertising. Food companies even create their own online games to appeal to young children surfing the Web and pull them into their products. An example of this McDonalds’ line of McWorld games for kids.
Mouthwatering sidebars that are strategically-placed on nearly every website that we visit are an absolutely lethal form of advertising, and companies know it. These games brainwash children, whether intentionally or unintentionally, in order to ensure the continuous prosperity of the huge corporations running the meat industry. And whether we realize it or not, this is causing a devastating amount of harm to our health and billions of living creatures.
Age 15, Grade 11
The Hewitt School