PETSA’s Mrs President Chomsky speaks out on sim pet abuse

by Alphaville Herald on 06/05/04 at 10:25 am

by humdog

pets wait for identification. those that are not rares will be exterminated. Photo courtesy of AVG.

this morning i had a chance to talk with mrs president chomsky about “pet pulling” for rares (and the attendant extermination of common pets that are not rare). i met her in her lovely home overlooking the hills behind alphaville and we talked over tea. mrs president chomsky quickly demonstrated herself to be a compassionate and thoughtful advocate for alphaville’s unwanted pets.

Only the lucky pets that are “rares” will survive. The rest of these pets will be exterminated. Photo courtesy of AVG.

humdog: i am here with the lovely mrs president chomsky. she’s here today representing one of her many charities, PETSA. mrs president, thank you for being with us today

mrs president chomsky: thank you so much humdog

humdog: i wonder if you would take a minute to tell us about petsa

mrs president chomsky: of course. PETSA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Simulated Animals (it’s pronounce like ‘pizza’). Our view is that cruelty to simulated animals, like the pets on tso, should not be tolerated.

humdog: how did you become aware of these issues?

mrs president chomsky: Well, I have always been troubled about the treatment of sim pets, and I have been especially troubled by the mass extermination of pets in hunts for rare pets, but since the new rares have come on I’ve been just disgusted by the thousands of innocent sim pets that are exterminated in the search for pink poodles and robot cats and their ilk

humdog: i don’t understand the need for extermination

mrs president chomsky: Well, to find a rare, you have to buy hundreds and hundreds of pets. If you find a rare you keep it. Otherwise the pet is, in effect, exterminated by way of returning it to its cage and then to maxis. One pet store even has a pet “kill zone” with red tiles where they open the cages to see if it is a rare. If it isn’t rare, it is returned to the place from whence it came.

humdog: that seems rather brutal

mrs president chomsky: Well, it is brutal to the pet, and that kind of brutality is desensitizing to the human sims too.

humdog: with pets, is it that you buy a pet and you don’t know what kind of pet it is? because pets in the buy area of the store seem to be clearly described

mrs president chomsky: yes, that’s because the pet stores open the boxes, identify them, and then mark them accordingly. When you buy a pet you don’t know what you are getting until you open the cage. So in rare hunts they open, see if they want it, and if they don’t they exterminate the pet. There is even a bot to automate the process — to make the killing more efficient. That way you don’t have to strain your eyes

humdog: please clarify where this takes place

mrs president chomsky: It takes place in every major pet store in alphaville. You will see cages and cages of pets lined up to be identified. Only a few of those will survive. I’ll send you a screen shot

humdog: i’m a little confused — i bought a pet but not in a pet store. so this pet hunt is going on in pet stores, not through the buy utility

mrs president chomsky: the pet stores use the buy utility. If they find a rare, they keep it. If they don’t they exterminate. The pet stores pay less than you do through the buy utility. They get wholesale prices because they buy in volume and are stores.

humdog: i see. so when you buy a pet, you don’t really know what you’ve bought — you could get a cat or a cheetah. these people will kill the cat and keep the cheetah

mrs president chomsky: yes exactly, because rares are big money. A cheetah is worth 15-25 dollars. A pink poodle, who knows, but Becca was offered 20 million simoleans The stores get some of their money back if they exterminate the pet. They call it a “sell-back”, but let’s face it, the pet is going back to its maker. Let’s not candy coat this. It’s like being paid for pet cadavers.

humdog: do you have concerns, mrs president, about the increasingly brutal and inconsiderate values of this game system

mrs president chomsky: of TSO? Well I have many concerns, but I am especially concerned about the pets, because they are among the few objects that we can interact with in a human way. All the other interactions are comical — dip kiss, flying hug, and bench press — but with pets you actually play like you would with a r/l pet. So I think it is especially desensitizing that pets are cast off like this. But yes, you are right. This game in general is a training ground for pathological behavior.

humdog: how would you like to see this situation addressed?

mrs president chomsky: Well, first of all, there should not be a sell back for pets. If you buy it you keep it for life. Of course Maxis won’t do that, because they are using rares to siphon money out of the game. But that would solve the problem in a stroke. Second, I think we need to open a pet island or something where pets can roam freely. At a minimum, rather than exterminate unwanted pets, we could have a place where they could be released to roam freely. Maybe a pet safari, but I think that this commodifies and objectifies the pets so I’m not totally in favor of it — but it is better than extermination.

humdog: mrs president, with all due respect, should you like maybe get a grip? aren’t we talking about little cartoon animals? do you think they are conscious?

mrs president chomsky: Well, that is a good question humdog, once we strip away your tone. The way we see it, there are two possibilities. Either the sim pets are conscious or they are not…. Are they conscious? Well, we simply don’t know because we don’t know (i) the first thing about what it takes to be conscious and (ii) we don’t know the first thing about the program underlying these pets. For all we know it is at least as sophisticated as a real pet. Or, for that matter, the program might be running a neural net and these pets could be learning every day — becoming conscious as we play with them….Now clearly they may not have the same phenomenology as an ordinary pet, but why should that matter? Feelings are feelings whether they match those of a real dog or a bat or whatever. It these creatures are sentient or capable of being sentient then we have a real situation on our hands. But what is it to be conscious anyway…?Daniel Dennett addresses this question in his book Consciousness Explained and he says it is not some property of mental stuff (like Descartes thought) but is really part of an intentional stance that we take towards the agent…having intentions may just amount to being regarded as having intentions by members of a community. Well, if you feel yourself binding with your virtual pet, then you have taken the intentional stance towards it and you may as well say it is conscious. But now suppose that the sim pets are just automata….Well, that’s what the philosopher Rene Descartes thought that “real” animals were — just little machines without any feelings whatsoever. Still, Descartes said we should treat animals well because it would undermine our humanity if we didn’t. Well if that is right, then treating sim animals well would be just as important as treating meat-based animals well in Descartes view.

humdog: you seem to be very concerned about this, mrs president, and also you appear to have given it a great deal of thought. you seem also to be suggesting that we would be better off treating sim pets as if they were conscious, sentient beings rather than as objects

mrs president chomsky: That’s exactly right. Whether in the end they are sentient or not, it is important that we treat them with dignity and respect.

humdog: how can we expect to see you moving forward to help these pets in the future?

mrs president chomsky: Well for now we are just trying to get the word out. Education is the first order of business. Eventually we may move to protests and if necessary violent measures to shut down the pet extermination palaces. By violent I mean “violent” in the tso sense of deploying techniques like property demos, trashing, etc.

humdog: will you be accepting contributions towards the creation of a pet sanctuary, and if so, have you created a mechanism for accepting them, and for creating the habitat without disrupting your personal home

mrs president chomsky: That’s a very good idea, and we are discussing that and other options at this time. If we come up with a strategy for donations for a pet sanctuary we will publish a press release through the AVH and other media outlets

humdog: is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers

mrs president chomsky: That’s it, except that people should always remember to treat virtual people AND virtual pets with respect. In the case of people, there is a typist on the other end with real feelings, and in the case of pets, we don’t know what we are dealing with, but we do know that our character depends a lot on how we treat these sim pets. Don’t blacken your soul by rehearsing evil deeds. Calling it simulation does not change a thing. Your soul is at stake. Take care of it.

humdog: thank you, mrs president. i look forward with hope to the success of your venture.

mrs president chomsky: Thank you for your time Ms. Humdog. I enjoyed our chat.

22 Responses to “PETSA’s Mrs President Chomsky speaks out on sim pet abuse”

  1. Simon

    May 6th, 2004

    For one, how do you know that the AVG didnt sell them to stores or gove them away to people? anyway, ITS A GAME!!!

  2. Simon

    May 6th, 2004

    you can expect a press release soon

  3. MattyS

    May 6th, 2004

    ya lol like all the rare traders will send all there pets there. Do u know how money that would cost??? some of the people go through 1,000′s of pets a day……its a game not real animals

  4. Cocoanut

    May 6th, 2004

    Finally something cute! (Minus the violence aspects.)


  5. Mr-President

    May 6th, 2004

    Although this is an Alphaville Government screenshot, it’s not an AVG pet pull. It’s just a look into what goes on for other people to see.

    Also, I don’t think the Citisims would be happy to find out that their donations were going into a pet pull, lol.

  6. Paul Tully

    May 6th, 2004

    yeah, the people who own the pet shops are just gonna give the pets right to you…and then scammers will all leave Alphaville because we asked nicely. Its a nice idea, but it would never work..
    A)Maxis will never do that much work to create a sort of NPC run sanctuary, and
    B)The Rare hunters would never give up hundreds of thousands of simoleans worth of pets.

    But, I wish you luck wiht your idea’s, I still feel completely the opposite of you, but, to each their own, I guess..

  7. Harridan

    May 6th, 2004

    When did you start calling them “pulls”? They’re called “culls” lol. Come to RoadKill Cafe, watch out for the bear pancakes crossing the road lol in AV and slaughter 10 at a time, bargain-basement rates for $40,000 a pop, look for rares, ain’t they sweet. We always got sumpin’ bubbling “fresh” on the back burner and it’s always a picnic. When you get the rare, sell if for big bucks on ebay, get a chump to buy it, laff like hell. Does it get better than this? LOL. See if you can start the dead truck out in the back too.

  8. Urizenus

    May 6th, 2004

    Humdog asked me for a couple screen shots to go with the story, so I asked Mr-P if I could use the ones from the AVG website. There is not supposed to be an implication that these were pet pulls on the AVG property. I assumed that these are just some snaps that Mr-P took when he was out taking screenshots of all the pet pulls on May 2.

  9. RB

    May 6th, 2004

    This is more fun role playing. Which is good. The person that was interviewed is not serious because there are no pets. lol. They are just moving pictures.

    lets not take TSO too seriously here. Ive seen enough of those fruitcakes on stratics. LMAO.

    - RB

  10. David Pierce

    May 8th, 2004

    What a fun and creative way to play the game (besides the “violent” protests) This is really role-playing at its best. What a fun story!


  11. Mrs. President Chomsky

    May 8th, 2004

    But I’m SERIOUS!

  12. Debra Messing

    May 8th, 2004

    Hello all ^_^,Debbie here

    I loooove this ladies view.I mean,it can be true!Who is to say we are not all computer programs.I mean,lots of religions are based on ‘god’.That can simply be GOD games,Games of Demention in another dimension,hm?It all draws back to the sims.For all we know,to somebody I can be researching on their HUMANS ONLINE.Don’t you see?

    Also,if they are simulated or not,they still have,even a basic,AI.That is intellligence,so lets treat it with kindness and dignity.

    Also,I would love to join PETSA,on my new accoutn of course.

    Sooo,be ready for a new member

    Hasta Luego
    -Keiko Sakura Korwin

    *Debra Messing in AV

  13. Mrs. President Chomsky

    May 8th, 2004

    woot. woot. rah!

  14. RB

    May 8th, 2004


    “they still have,even a basic,AI.That is intellligence,so lets treat it with kindness and dignity.”

    Lets not go overboard here. haha. Do you even know the differance between AI and I? i think not.

    These sim pets run on basic prescripted actions in relation ot what you do with them. They have ZERO *I* and cannot think independantly of thier controllers. Only very complex AI can do that.

    - RB

  15. Cocoanut

    May 9th, 2004

    I think I should be kinder to my alarm clock.


  16. Debra Messing

    May 9th, 2004

    Even if they are prescripted,do we know this?!?!?

    For all we know maxis can be a magical company, trying to take over the world!!!!Oki,to far there…

    But either ways they are still somewhat something.They are not *just* objects.

    Oh,and that is such a cool idea,a sanctuary.But since Maxis never cares what we think,I propose that we make a neighborhood,’The Pound’.Here we would give away free pets,with some of there history.

  17. Mrs. President Chomsky

    May 9th, 2004


    come visit The Pet Sanctuary in alphaville. I live there with St. Frank of AV. We will soon have a wonderful sanctuary for the protection of underappreciated pets.

    c u soon, Mrs. PC

  18. Debra Messing

    May 9th, 2004

    Mrs President,

    I will very soon!Today I am at a relatives in New Jersey for Mothers Day weekend,i will be on at about 10.I may be a scammer,but then again Oprah called me the wishy washy scammer,so when I activate my new account(Around June 1st so I can try to get that cannon object),I will devote her to this glorious cause.


  19. Ms Oprah Winfrey

    May 9th, 2004

    Nice to know my donation is going to good use………………………………

  20. Ms Oprah Winfrey

    May 9th, 2004

    Nice to know my donation is going to good use………………………………

  21. Debra Messing

    May 10th, 2004

    Good one Mrs C :D

  22. juan

    May 10th, 2004

    pongan el juego

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