Animal rights activist group PETA has accused Battlefield 3 developer DICE of encouraging cruelty towards animals.

The group’s German office has issued a press release condemning the optional stabbing of a rat in the third mission of the singleplayer campaign.

Battlefieldblog translates, “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.”

The statement goes on to say that such sequences 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,” claims PETA.