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PETA puts hit out on Mafia Wars

Charity worried about safety of pit bulls.

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is protesting against the presence of doggies in Mafia Wars.

Specifically, PETA is unhappy that the Facebook game allows players to pit animals against each other in fights.

In a letter to Mark Pincus, boss of Mafia Wars developer Zynga, PETA wrote, "Portraying dogs and other animals as nothing more than living weapons encourages people to abuse animals in real life."

According to PETA, dogs belonging to "bully breeds" are sometimes physically abused and starved by their owners, and punished for losing in illegal dogfights or not being aggressive enough. "The people who acquire them do so because they have been taught that having one of these dogs is 'cool' and 'tough', but they have no idea about the care and feelings of the animal they have enslaved," the organisation said.

" Will you please reconsider perpetuating the image of pit bulls and other animals as fighting machines in Mafia Wars and decide against sending a dangerous message that it's somehow acceptable to force animals to fight, keep them chained, and deny them everything that is natural and important to them?"

Zynga has yet to respond to PETA's protest.

It's not the first time the organisation has focused on the issue of animals in games - PETA has previously taken a pop at Cooking Mama's carnivorous ways, Take-Two's love of circuses and SEGA's penchant for making monkeys dance, and held a protest in World of Warcraft to demand more nightclubs for seals.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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