It's been a while since video game violence has appeared in the news, but animal rights group PETA has decided to call out Battlefield 3 for apparently causing players to participate in animal cruelty. Players may recall a level from the Battlefield 3 single player in which players execute a rat with a combat knife before tossing it aside. While such an action may seem harmless, PETA believes that the scene has more dramatic effects than some are willing to believe.
According to the activist group, Battlefield 3 players participating in said scene could be inspired to commit similar acts in real life. These claims have been levied against video games in the past, implying that the immersive quality of games could lead to desensitization to violence, turning people towards more violent tendencies.
Of course such claims have yet to be proven, but PETA still believes that there is a link between animal cruelty and video games, as explained in their German press release:
"The realistic computer game “Battlefield 3â€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."
We find it somewhat hard to believe that the rat scene would cause a sudden spike in the amount of animal cruelty cases, especially considering PETA's information only comes from Germany; hardly a representation of gamers as a whole. Of course, one also has to take certain demographic factors into consideration before pointing the finger at video games, and simply claiming "monkey see, monkey do" without substantial facts just makes PETA look somewhat questionable, even if their intentions are noble.
Of course we could be wrong, Battlefield 3 also has a scene in which players are forced into [SPOILER ALERT] an altercation with police officers, and ever since its release police officers just seem to spontaneously explode in my neighborhood.
Battlefield 3 is available now for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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Source: BF3 Blog