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PETA criticizes use of fighting pit bulls in Mafia Wars, Zynga removes offensive animal
by Dave Rudden
May 07, 2010 12:20 PM PT
The animal advocacy group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, protested Zynga's use of animals as attack items in Mafia Wars, perpetuating the stereotype of pit bulls as a dangerous breed. Zynga has since removed pit bulls from the game as a result of the backlash.
Originally posted on 4/23.
Earlier this week, Zynga introduced pit bulls and African lions as items in Mafia Wars in preparation for an upcoming update in which "animals will become a fully-fledged combat item class." PETA has taken exception to the move, stating on its official blog that "perpetuating the image of pit bulls as fighting machines is reckless and wrong."
While PETA doesn't completely condemn Zynga, mentioning the positive portrayal of animals within games like Farmville, the group does encourage anyone offended by the move to email Zynga's customer service department to register a complaint. Do you think Zynga went to far, or is PETA just overreacting?
UPDATE: PETA sent out a statement today announcing that a letter the organization sent to Zynga had affected a change within the Facebook game developers, leading the company to remove pit bulls from the game. When we reached Zynga for comment, a company representative stated "we did remove the pitbulls because of the negative sentiment we were getting from some of our players," but did not mention PETA's specific outreach.
We also contacted PETA to confirm whether they had heard from Zynga, and while the organization did not cite any particular correspondence, did issue the following statement: "After hearing from PETA and many of our members and supporters, Zynga changed the image of the chained pit bull to a friendlier, unchained pit bull, seen here, then shortly thereafter replaced the image altogether. We’re certain that Zynga's compassionate decision came as a result of hearing from PETA and concerned members of the public who don’t want to play a game that glorifies the cruel treatment of animals."
SOURCES: Mafia War(s) Declared on Animals! [The PETA Files, via GamePolitics]
About-Face for Facebook (Game)[The PETA Files]