It was inevitable: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has climbed aboard the bandwagon of opposition to dog-shooting in Call of Duty: World at War and has even offered its "Developing Empathy for Animals" seminar to Activision Blizzard absolutely free.
It was reported last week that a group of Massachusetts high school students had taken offense at Activision's Call of Duty: World at War FPS, specifically a sequence in which players shoot and kill a number of German attack dogs, and had put together a petition protesting the slaughter which they hoped to eventually send to the publisher. With attention drawn to the admittedly minor furor by numerous gaming sites, it was only a matter of time before PETA weighed in on the matter.
It took three days but the notorious animal rights group has indeed involved itself, issuing a statement condemning the game. "Not since we were pitted against Nazi attack dogs when we first escaped from Castle Wolfenstein 17 years ago have we seen such barbaric treatment of dogs in video games as we did in Call of Duty: World at War," the group wrote on its website.
"During the course of the game, you are forced to shoot attack dogs and you can actually unlock a 'reward' that allows you to unleash a pack of attack dogs on enemies," the blog post continued. "In a post-Michael Vick world, you'd think that Activision Blizzard, which publishes the popular game, would take abusing dogs for entertainment purposes more seriously."
The group has offered to treat Activision employees to its "Developing Empathy for Animals" seminar at no charge and has also sent a pack of Nintendogs to the Activision offices. "With a little Nintendogs influence, perhaps the next Call of Duty game will have you unlock achievements for petting the dogs you encounter and going on walks or playing Frisbee with them," the group said. And after that you can invite the SS Panzer Division Totenkopf out for lunch and maybe see if they'd like to join your book club.
Activision responded to PETA's calls for kinder, gentler Nazi attack dogs in a statement sent to GamePolitics. "In order to create believable, real-world scenes and heighten the game playing experience, Call of Duty: World at War depicts the ruthless and gritty combat of World War II," it said. "Dogs are included in the game for authenticity since they were used extensively by German, Japanese, U.S. and Soviet troops during the war. Activision in no way endorses or condones cruelty to animals, and we don't believe the game will encourage cruelty in any way."