Animal rights group PETA has accused Battlefield 3 developer DICE of encouraging sadistic violence towards animals.
A press release issued by the organisation's German office and translated by Battlefield3blog, condemns a sequence in the game's third single player mission where players can nonchalantly impale a rat with a knife.
"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," it read.
The statement went on to claim this sort of shocking violence can have can have "a brutalising 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."
This isn't the first time that PETA has got its knickers in a twist over a video game. Last year it expressed outrage at the lack of a vegetarian option in fleshy indie platformer Super Meat Boy, countering with a spoof effort called Super Tofu Boy, much to developer Team Meat's amusement.