AN UNBEARABLE SOCIETY

Enviro-Bear 2000: Operation: Hibernation is a computer game that was originally published in 2009. You play as a bear driving a car. You are using said car to collect fish and berries because you are five minutes away from hibernating all winter long. You can collect fish and berries by driving into lakes and bushes respectively. You can only control one of the bear’s arms, so you have to put the car into drive, press on the accelerator, steer the car, and force food into your mouth with just the one hand, and then guide your car into a cave so you can hibernate. You might be asking yourself what kind of world lets bears drive cars. Let’s examine that.

The Secretary of Transportation has created minimum standards that each state must require of a citizen before they will be issued a driver license. Each state then has its own system in place for issuing a driver license. Enviro-Bear 2000: Operation: Hibernation never actually states where it takes place, but snow will fall and the directions to the game are in English, so let’s assume it is a northern state comparable to Minnesota or Wisconsin. Wisconsin Statutes 343.06 explains which persons will not be issued a license. There is no mention of animals not being given a license. That is kind of understood. In the universe of Enviro-Bear 2000: Operation: Hibernation that is not understood. Either this bear was issued a license from the state he resides in, or, that bear stole that car. But the former is more reasonable to believe because there are other bears driving around the same forest as you. Everyone forgot to eat enough before hibernation and they are flooding the forest, like parents that forgot to buy presents before Christmas cramming into toy stores and shopping malls. In the world of Enviro-Bear 2000: Operation: Hibernation anything that is competent to pass the written and road test may be given a driver license.

The bear with a car full of junk
The bear with a car full of junk

There is also the question of whether the bear is littering or polluting the environment. If you drive into a lake, fish will enter your car through your sun roof. If you hit a tree, leaves and pine cones will fall into your car. Sometimes a badger will fall into your car as well. If you hit a rock, smaller rocks will fall into your car. It is possible for you to throw things back out of your window to unclutter your car. There is no problem when you thrown leaves and stones back out into the environment they came from. When the bear is done eating a fish all that is left is the bones of that fish. Is the bear in the right when he throws the bones out the window? There are no police or forest rangers in the woods, so he isn’t getting pulled over, but let’s explore the idea a little further.  In Wisconsin it is illegal to throw solid waste out of your vehicle. Wis. Stat. §287.81 (2)(b). In Minnesota you are not allowed to dispose of solid waste on public land. Minn. Stat. §115A.99 (1)(a) (2014). These laws obviously do not exist in whatever state this bear lives in. He is allowed to throw fish bones wherever he pleases. Littering is absolutely fine in that universe, that, or there is just an exception on the books for fish bones. Some sort of law like, “No person may permit solid waste to be thrown from a vehicle operated by that person, unless it is fish bones. Any person may throw fish bones out of his vehicle wherever he pleases.”

The bear could also potentially face some consequences for throwing badgers out of his vehicle after the badgers fall into the vehicle. Wis. Stat. §951.02 states that you cannot treat any animal in a cruel manner. This includes wild animals like deer. State v. Kuenzie 796 N.W.2d 222 (Wis. Ct. App. 2011). In this case the bear is throwing badgers out of his vehicle while he is driving, which is already dangerous for the badger, but there are other bears in the forest driving around as well. The badgers are now at risk of being run over by those other bears. If the bear throws the badger at a tree while he is driving twenty miles an hour he is going to cause some cruel harm to that badger. It could be that there is no animal cruelty law in Enviro-Bear’s America. It could also be that the state this bear lives in made an exception for badgers in their animal cruelty law. They may not have any statutory protection. There could also be a law that says what this bear does is not a cruel act. It is also possible that the bear has a pretty good lawyer that has convinced the courts that his actions fall into the idea of hunting and this makes his actions legal. Because we already have bears driving cars I’d like to think that there are bear lawyers defending the actions of bears that forgot to plan for hibernation each year.

Bear eating fish
Bear eating fish

Enviro-Bear 2000: Operation: Hibernation seems like just a silly computer game, but underneath the surface is a society with many interesting quirks. It lets all sorts of beasts behind the wheels of vehicles, doesn’t care about waste disposal, and allows bigger animals to do what they please with smaller animals. If you’d like to explore for yourself I’ll put a nice link right here.

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