People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently began calling the new Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS insensitive to the hunting and killing of real-life tanuki racoon dogs for fur. I guess PETA never had an issue with everyone's favorite plumber stomping on turtles and using their shells as weapons all these years.
From PETA's "Mario Kills Tanooki" section of their site: "Tanooki may be just a 'suit' in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur."
There's even an accompanying Flash game that encourages players to help a skinned and bloodied Tanooki reclaim his fur.
I'm all for animal rights and the ethical treatment of them and I don't think wearing real fur (tanuki or any other animal) is especially humane. But I do think it's safe to say no animals are or were harmed as a direct result of Super Mario 3D Land.
Instead, PETA is exploiting a game that's marketed to kids to propagate its agenda. Splattering animated blood on their site and flashing "Mario Kills Tanooki" is a bit harsh, even for a organization that has links to known arsonists and the ALF, a group declared by the Department of Homeland Security to be a "terrorist threat."
But don't worry kids, I actually recently had a chat with the big man himself, and he assured me that the Tanooki suit he wears in the game is made completely of faux fur.