PETA says Zynga's promoting animal cruelty in Mafia Wars

Mafia Wars have just recently informed players that they will be able to bring animals with them while fighting and doing jobs. Players are excited about the opportunity to have animals become a big part of the game, and have been collecting animals over the last week in an "Animals Gone Wild" extravaganza. These animals include wild ones such as lions and tigers to domesticated pit bulls. Now, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are calling for Zynga to remove animals from Mafia Wars.

PETA correspondent Jennifer O'Connell has posted the following on the PETA official blog:

"Sure, it's just a game, but perpetuating the image of pit bulls as fighting machines is reckless and wrong. It is particularly troubling in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a law banning the distribution of videos glorifying such cruelty to animals."

Also noted in the blog post is how Zynga have typically been good representatives of proper animal treatment, including bulldogs in YoVille in which all proceeds are donated to the San Francisco SPCA. PETA are arguing that the pit bull breed already has a negative stigma in the public's eye, and that promoting using animals for fighting is encouraging players to engage in illegal activities.

A protest group on Facebook has already formed up in response, but currently has only 14 members. PETA is encouraging any supporters to contact Zynga customer service to voice their objection to using animals as a weapon in robberies and fights.

What do you think about this? Should animals be used as weapons in Mafia Wars?

[via PETA's Official Blog]