The animal rights movement, represented by PETA, have issued a press release in Germany criticizing Battlefield 3 over “animal cruelty”. Specifically, PETA points out a singleplayer mission (mission 3) in Battlefield 3 where the player has to stab a rat, and toss it away.
PETA states that the killing of even a virtual animal could inspire young people to do such acts in real life. According to PETA, recent animal cruelty cases in Germany, where youngsters engaged in animal cruelty, were inspired by video games and movies. As PETA puts it in the press release:
The realistic computer game “Battlefield 3″ treats animals in a sadistic manner. The game gives players the option to kill a rat with a combat knife in the back in order to then lift it by its tail, then toss it away. Killing virtual animals can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience. There have been repeated cases of animal cruelty in Germany, where young people kill animals. Inspiration behind these acts often came from movies and computer games.
You can find the full PETA statement, in German, here.
For more information on PETA, see this wonderful documentary by Penn & Teller.