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The main plot involves a protest group who are opposed to cruelty to zombies, because, you know, give a shambling corpse a friendly hug and he might briefly remember being human after he's had a few mouthfuls of your face.
Civil Rights activists care
, so much so that opponents derisively label them "bleeding hearts". But what they fail to consider is that the Zombie Advocate's friends may well rip it from their chest.
The Zombie Advocate is a (usually) normal
person who advocates for the "human rights
" of... well, things other than humans. Not just zombies, but also robots, monsters, and other inhuman creatures
that may inhabit the setting. They will argue against killing them and make a case that they're not dangerous, but Reluctant Monsters
who are no different from human
at all. Well, except for
, made of metal and/or having died.
They may not even be that far off. If the creature being advocated for is genuinely good
the Zombie Advocate can get The Hunter
to stop from committing a Van Helsing Hate Crime
regret. In more idealistic stories they're instrumental in getting
the angry villagers
(or disdainful scientists)
and the misunderstood monster to reconcile — until some idiot goes invoking an Interrupted Cooldown Hug
, that is. Interestingly, they may well have hated or feared the monster just like everyone else, only changing their mind after discovering
On the other hand, the Zombie Advocate may have that hand bitten off
by the "person" they're "helping."
In settings where the monsters really are
evil inhuman murderers this position becomes suicidally misguided. When a loved one is turning
or turned into a monster
, the Zombie Advocate may go into denial
and hide their condition or pretend nothing is wrong. While trying to protect them from discovery and destruction is understandable, it is no less suicidal or genocidal.
Extremely far gone advocates may even try to care for them and "feed" them. Of course, if the non-human is intelligent, it may well be the creature is tricking them or offering conversion.
In both these latter cases, they usually die at the hands of their "loved one".
See also Inhumanable Alien Rights
, which is what a justified Zombie Advocate
is fighting against. Compare Black Shirt
and Gullible Lemmings
. Not to be confused with soulless lawyers
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Anime & Manga
- In Highschool of the Dead, a group taking refuge on Saya's parents' estate criticize them for slaughtering the undead indiscriminately rather than searching for a cure. Who are eventually eaten by the zombie hordes because those idiots from the orgybus messed up and let them into the compound. Just in case you were wondering, they actually try to reason with the zombies while they are being eaten. (The ringleader panics, stabs a zombie in the eye before the moment of truth, and is still in denial.)
- Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh is an odd example of this, as the "zombies" in question are cats who only seem to be a danger to Sakaki herself, as they (one, nicknamed Kamineko, in particular) attack her every time she tries to pet one. That said, she still keeps on trying and becomes distressed when Kagura or others try to scare away or hit the cats to get them to release her fingers.
Films — Animation
- Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast becomes this for the Beast toward the end, trying to stop the angry villagers from Storming the Castle with Torches and Pitchforks.
- How to Train Your Dragon has Hiccup advocate for dragon-kind. He is, however, an example of the former kind of Zombie Advocate (that is, where it's not sheer insanity to take such a position), and the movie is ultimately about proving that dragons aren't a danger to vikings by choice and the two races can get along just fine. Once he helps destroy the giant monster-dragon that has enslaved the other dragons and is forcing them to pillage the viking village to feed its endless hunger, anyway.
- In the Second Renaissance sections of The Animatrix, there are protests and a Million Machine March promoting civil rights for sentient machines.
Films — Live-Action
- The Dead Next Door has a scene in which protesters advocating zombie rights are attacked by the zombies.
- Ghostbusters raised the possibility of ghost advocacy groups when they showed a cover of The Atlantic magazine that asked "Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?"
- Colin: The zombie's sister chases away kids trying to terminate him, then pleads with her boyfriend to take him back to their apartment and tie him to the shower head. She shows him family photos (which he snarls at), gets bitten for her trouble, hides it, then dies and comes back to wander the Earth with her brother.
- Survival of the Dead has a plot that boils down to a group of Army deserters stumbling across an island divided between the rule of two clans. The Muldoons are Zombie Advocates to a man/woman, chaining up or imprisoning their zombies and striving to teach them to feed on animal flesh rather than human flesh. The O'Flynns recognize that the zombies are nothing but predatory corpses and are determined to wipe out any zombie that shows up on the island. End result is the two clans being more concerned with shooting each other then with dealing with the growing army of zombies on the island.
- Surprisingly absent in the Underworld franchise, in spite Awakening having the perfect setup for it. Even the human cop forming a temporary alliance with Selene seems off-put at the notion of having to work with a vampire to defeat the lycans. But for some strange reason, even with the loved ones being turned into vampires, nobody ever bothers to petition for their loved ones' rights or form advocacy groups.
- The X-Men film series revolves around this trope, usually from the mutants' perspective. Many analogies to civil rights and other topical issues are made on all sides, with comparisons to the Civil Rights movement, the Holocaust, weapons in schools, coming out ("Mom, Dad — I'm a mutant"). A commonly-cited fan analogy is in the "Civil Rights movement" theme, Professor Xavier is an Expy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideals of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, while Magneto embodies more of a Malcolm X type of militant, us-versus-them, mutant superiority archetype.
- Xavier also tends to invert this by being a firm advocate for humanity, despite his own admission that mutants like himself are the next stage in mankind's evolution and the future of their species.
- Hermione in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire started S.P.E.W., the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. Notable in that house elves do not want better treatment, being a race of Extreme Doormats. Considering that they are physically and mentally incapable of disobeying their owners, it may be fair to say the elves generally lack the ability to independently "want" anything in particular, Dobbies and Kreachers notwithstanding. Hermione's understanding of the situation gradually improves from Book 4 ("The other elves will see how happy [Dobby] is, being free, and slowly it'll dawn on them that they want that too!”) to Book 7 (after Kreacher is punishing himself for calling her a Mudblood: "Don't you see how sick it is, the way they've got to obey?"). While Hermione's position seems to be the author's, it isn't exactly clear what can be done to address the situation.
In general though, it's clear that a lot of masters take advantage of their house elves' psychology and end up physically and mentally abusing them in ways that sentient creatures shouldn't have to put up with. Word of God states that Hermione eventually gets a job in the Ministry working to pass laws requiring that House Elves are treated humanely in their positions. A good example of the problem is Dumbledore's hiring of Dobby. The first offer was good wages and weekends off, but Dobby talked him down.
- Spoofed in Reaper Man with Reg Shoe (a Zombie Advocate who is, himself, a zombie) and his "Fresh Start Club". This gets more spoofed in a later book where Vimes is so fed up with Reg's complaints that he offers Reg a job in the Watch as a liaison with the supernatural community. Soon enough Reg is complaining about the other Zombie Advocates being unreasonable and there is a growing list of complaints against Reg's treatment of supernatural beings.
- A similar thing happens with the Black Ribbon Temperance Society, a society of Friendly Neighborhood Vampires who pledge to refrain from drinking human blood in the hopes that that will get them treated better by people. It usually works.
- The Campaign for Equal Hights are an extremely pushy human-run Dwarf rights group. They campaign against the use of phrases such as "Short Weight" and that since Dwarfs are shorter than Humans that there should be three Dwarfs hired for every two Humans. The Dwarfs themselves are generally baffled by the campaign. Besides, if they are insulted by a Human they have other ways of dealing with it, sometimes involving a battleaxe.
- The "Breath of Life" movement in the Felix Castor series are this for all the undead, at least in principle.
- In the Simon Canderous series, the vampire Aidan Christos is a bit of a Jerkass, but the liaison between humans and vampires once the vampires convince the DEA they don't want to wipe out humanity or cause a human-vampire war.
- Anita Blake is — in the early novels — an ardent defender of zombie rights, and lobbies in support of a Bill of Zombie Rights. Not because she thinks they're harmless. It's more about respect for the dead, and preventing their being raised for irresponsible reasons. Like, um, necrophilia. Yeah, it's that kind of series.
- In Warm Bodies, a zombie eats a guy's brain and falls in love with his girlfriend. The two fall in love, which heals other zombies through The Power of Love and turns the girl into a Zombie Advocate. This is one of the few instances in which a Zombie Advocate in a Zombie Apocalypse movie is shown to be right.
- Hershel Greene in The Walking Dead. He thinks of them as sick people and keeps a barn filled with his infected family members and neighbors, even those that get trapped trying to enter his farm. And he feeds them. With chicken.
- The vampires of True Blood have lobbyists and talking heads just like every other special interest group.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gib Cain scoffs at having to deal with "People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves" after Buffy and co. stop him from killing a werewolf on the grounds that it's still a human being. It even spewed a real-life counterpart.
- In the latter part of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, a group of activists briefly emerged who argued that the Colonials should pursue peace and coexistence with the Cylons. This despite the fact that the Cylons had almost entirely eradicated all of mankind in a nuclear holocaust and pursued the scant few survivors into deep space, the activists still characterized Admiral Adama and Galactica's campaign to protect the fleet from being wiped out of existence as a "relentless war machine".
- When the study group plays Dungeons & Dragons on Community, Britta keeps getting distracted from their actual goals by such causes:
Abed as NPC: How can I help you, dear madam?
Britta as PC: Oh please, no need for such deference. I am no better than a gnome.
Abed: Yes, you are, madam. You are a human warrior, which is five species classes greater than I.
Britta: That's disgusting! Don't talk like that!
Abed: I am so sorry, madam! Please don't report me for execution!
Britta: Oh, no, no, no, I didn't mean that! Guys, we’ve GOT to do something about these gnomes!
Jeff: BRITTA, ASK THE STUPID GNOME WHERE WE CAN GET A PEGASUS!!
- The whole plot of the BBC series, In the Flesh, revolves around medicated and rehabilitated former zomb- Partial Deceased Syndrome sufferers being reintegrated into normal society. Unfortunately, those who campaign for their civil rights and protection are often lambasted by supporters of the Human Volunteer Force, who see no distinction between "rotters" who are medicated and those who are still rabid.
- On Fraggle Rock, Mokey once feels sorry for the Doozers having their buildings eaten, and convinces the other Fraggles to stop. Turns out the Doozers like having their hard work destroyed because it leaves room for them to keep building.
- Shadowrun. In his will the dragon Dunkelzahn set up an organization called the Astral Space Preservation Society. One of its duties was to "protect the rights of the denizens of astral space". Some of these denizens are insect spirits (which infest and take over human beings), toxic spirits (which are used in the evil plans of toxic shamans) and Horrors, who are Eldritch Abominations that devastate the surface of the Earth every few thousand years.
- Mystara has one of Transplanted Humans areas bringing lycanthropes to Glantri. They eventually got enough of a political clue to organize the underground Canine Protection Society and claim they are persecuted out of prejudice much like the dwarves were before. They leave dwarves and halflings alone; conversely, some dwarves quietly support them with money as an indirect revenge against Glantrians. The real plan is very simple: to spread lycanthropy around until there are enough of them, because once there are 5000 supporters who live in one area far enough from the capitol (which is the case) and agree on which noble they want as the Prince, the last step is perfectly legal — they can officially request an Act of Enfiefment and get their own principalty.
- The existence of a "People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies" protest group occurs in a few All Flesh Must Be Eaten settings, usually with their annihilation being played for laughs.
- Hunter The Vigil in the New World of Darkness has an unusually respectful variant of this in the Talbot Group, who are Hunters who focus on trying to rehabilitate and cure spirit-ridden and werewolves. They resort to violence only as a last resort, and are generally one of the nicest people, though somewhat misinformed in their purpose. Most notable, Urathra can not be cured of being werewolves, anymore than, say, Africans could be cured of having dark skin — werewolfism is a genetic trait.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: Should the PC decide to help him, Donn Throgg becomes this for the orcish slave labour working in the factories of Tarant.
- Stacey Forsythe in Dead Rising 2 is a zombie rights activist believing that zombies should be treated with respect. She leads the Nevada chapter of a national organization call C.U.R.E. — Citizens for Undead Rights & Equality. Outside, there are many zombified protesters, some still mindlessly holding their protest signs. The game doesn't go into great detail about the goals of C.U.R.E., save that they oppose rounding them up for the zombie-killing game show, Terror Is Reality. Since there is no cure for a turned zombie, they probably want the zombies to be given a humane execution and proper due to the dead. Psychopath Brandon is a C.U.R.E. member who's snapped and decided to take Zombie Rights to an extreme. A minor British political party of the same name was created as part of the viral marketing campaign for the game.
- In Siren: Blood Curse, Melissa Gale becomes one of these near the end of the first "time loop". Both her daughter and husband are turned into Shibito zombies, and Melissa can be seen "comforting" her trapped shibito-fied daughter, as the husband comes up behind her to kill her.
- Team Plasma in Pokemon Black And White are half this, half Animal Wrongs Group. The founder was raised with abused Pokémon so he'd have a skewed-view of Pokémon/human relationships, and is eventually shown by the main character that such cases are the exception instead of the rule.
- Stubbs the Zombie is Wideload Games' attempt to present the zombie point of view, supplemented with arguments on their website.
- Online game Urban Dead naturally has these, generally staffed by zombies. One even had on its webpage a campaign to help cure the humans. With the normal tender zombie love.
- Gabriel and Gabriella of Dead Hungry Diner are a variation on the "actually right" version. Initially idolizing Vanda Hellsing — who protected their town from zombies by fighting them — they discover by accident that not only are the zombies simply hungry rather than malevolent, but they'll gladly eat certain berries instead of people — even paying for the privilege. They convert the local cemetery into a diner for monsters, while their former hero devolves into Van Helsing Hate Crimes, refusing to accept any solution to the problem that doesn't involve killing the monsters.
- Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series can become an advocate of Synthetic Lifeforms, should they befriend EDI and Legion, to the point where they will angrily berate their own creators who insist they are Just a Machine.
- Playing as a Ranger in Baldur's Gate II affords you the opportunity to do this for a group of hobgoblins after you complete the Ranger Stronghold quest.
- In Flipside, Maytag tries to help Bloody Mary, a mass-murdering cannibal, genuinely hoping that she'll be able to help her reverse her condition. Her determination to help is pretty solid, especially considering that Mary has just eaten Maytag's arm and killed a good man whom she admired.
- Rick in Basic Instructions takes this view for a strip, even claiming the possible creation of a zombie utopia. However, the whole thing was a set-up for a joke about people only valuing others for their brains.
- Tsukiko from The Order of the Stick is unlike most necromancers in fiction. Rather than see the undead as slaves, she considers them morally superior to the living on the grounds that the dead don't lie or go around hurting feelings. She acts motherly toward her vicious flesh-eating creations, and flirted with the lich Xykon in their first meeting. The whole thing is mostly Played for Laughs. In her case it's more of a Logical Fallacies situation: she reasons that since the living are mean liars who go around hurting each other, the undead (as the antithesis of living creatures) MUST be kind, loving gentle creatures. She holds to this belief regardless of the mountains of evidence to the contrary right up until the End. There's also other reasons for her behavior.
- In a story arc in the World of Warcraft-based comic, Dark Legacy Comics, Keydar joins a group that supports NPC rights, culminating in violence towards NPCs being made illegal. In the world of an MMO, killing NPCs is integral to society, so the economy crumbles and people starve as they can't get meat or loot anything.
- In Dan And Mabs Furry Adventures, Rachel-Rebecca the Third established civil rights for The Undead after winning the case for her own murder.
- MegaTokyo: The Magical Girl tries to save a zombie Godzilla. (Guilt is a factor here, since she precipitated the infection.)
- Exterminatus Now has zombies rather vehement in this regard. Not that it helped (see also a few next pages).
- In the Ciem Webcomic Series, the US military, which tolerated the Phaelites, takes some responsibility of providing advocacy for Phexos. The Mafia, which tolerated Meethlites, does the same for Meethexos and members of the Hebbleskin Gang. Outside those extremes, there really is nobody to advocate for the rights of Phexos and Meethexos, because most of the world is seen as being too wrapped up in its own problems to care. As such, Phexos and Meethexos are bigger threats to each other along factional lines than they are to humanity at large. The one time a judge tried to start a Phexo and Marlquaanite ban, it backfired horribly.
- In Bruno The Bandit, Bruno is going to be forced to to fight a dragon on live television. Suddenly, a group of straw PETA stand-ins rush the stage and start protesting the mistreatment of this majestic creature. The dragon immediately eats them.
- Penny Arcade gives us the PETO, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Orcs.
- The Zombie Rights Campaign is dedicated to advocating the rights, and fighting the stereotypes, of zombies.
- The Chick introduced in I Am Not Infected is a member of a group of zombie rights protesters, who seems to hang out with the guys' pet zombie and "girl talk".
- Mark Lilly, from Ugly Americans. Actually, this is almost the entire point of the show.
- Generator Rex episode "Outpost" introduces Green Fist, group breaking out captured EVOs from Providence bases. Their leader, Valentina claims they return EVOs to their natural environment and is the first character who ever called Rex out on being a Hunter of His Own Kind.
- Godzilla The Series has S.C.A.L.E, an Animal Wrongs Group that thinks mutations are the final step of evolution and that they should run free in the world. Kaiju running free = City-destroying rampages. The "poor creatures" they want to free from Monster Island include a giant king cobra, a fire-breathing mosquito, a giant bat, and a bipedal squid-like monster that feeds on tar (and, considering the man-made things found in cities that are made from tar...).
- Lion-O from ThunderCats (2011) is the only Cat who will defend the rights of the Lizards, the Cats' sworn enemy. And to a lesser extent Dogs too.