Animal rights activists have expressed dismay at a game where players can hunt wildlife in the Scottish Highlands.
Hunting Simulator 2 allows eager amateur hunters to stalk and kill prey such as deer and rabbits in locations across the world including the Scottish mountains, but one animal right group has slammed the game after claiming it “normalises” the killing of animals.
Speaking on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports in Scotland, Robbie Marsland said: “It’s mind-boggling that that anyone could think this is the best way to use the beautiful Scottish countryside.”
“The league has just published a report that reveals that up to a quarter of a million animals are killed each year so that there are more grouse to shoot. If online gamers want to virtually shoot each other, that’s okay. But leave off the animals – they already have a bad enough time in reality!”
Hunting Simulator 2 offers an immersive, virtual hunting experience, with players given the chance to explore vast open landscapes on the trail of their prey. Gamers can track up to 37 species of animals using a cache of weapons that includes crossbows, longbows and Winchester and Browning rifles.
Players can also use specialist kit including callers, wind powders and lures, which contribute to providing a real-life experience in the comfort of your own home.
Developers of the game Nacon describe it as a “true simulation of hunting” that offers hours and hours of immersion in some of the world’s most well-known hunting areas. But rather than some harmless fun that’s simply a way for gamers to experience the excitement of hunting in a virtual arena, Marsland believes the game sends out the wrong messages to players.
“Things like this desensitise people and make them think that if it’s okay to shoot something online then it’s okay to do that elsewhere – it normalises killing animals for entertainment.”
Nacon have yet to offer any comment on the criticism.