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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

PETA Reminds StarCraft Players That Zerglings Have Feelings, Too

Written by Joel Bartlett | March 11, 2013

StarCraft players gearing up for the launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be getting a new perspective on the game’s arthropodal extraterrestrials, the Zerg.

PETA—or, as we are renaming ourselves in honor of the expansion pack’s launch, “Terrans for the Ethical Treatment of Zerglings”—will attend tonight’s launch event in Irvine, California, and distribute copies of our new “Zerglings Have Feelings, Too” leaflets as a reminder that gamers and nongamers alike should have compassion for all beings—even those who are very different from us.

Heart for the Swarm

We always root for the underdogs (and undermice and underpigeons, etc.) at PETA. And when playing StarCraft, I had noticed how the Zerg were treated more like animals than like other people. I couldn’t help but wonder if there would be an analog to PETA in the world of StarCraft. Tonight, my dream will come true.

People often wonder what PETA has against video games, especially after playing our Pokémon: Black and Blue or Super Tanooki Skin 2D parody games, which have each gotten millions of people to think about PETA’s issues and, together, have led to more than 750,000 people watching PETA’s hard-hitting videos. The truth is that as a gamer and a PETA staffer, I get excited about combining my passions.

So remember, while Zerglings are not real, there are many equally “strange” and exotic animals we share this planet with who deserve our empathy. Just because crocodiles and snakes look alien to us, that doesn’t make it OK to skin them alive for a handbag, shoes, or a belt.

And if we had to share our world with the Zerg in reality, I’d like to think that we’d make an effort to understand and respect them rather than sending out the battlecruisers—because the alternative to having empathy for other beings is about as grim as it gets, whether you’re a Terran, a Zerg, or a Protoss. OK, whoa, that got kind of serious there. What I am saying is look at the cute Zergling! How could anyone ever want to hurt a Zergling?

If all this talk of “Zerg rights” has you thinking, I recommend that you check out Animal Liberation, the groundbreaking book by Peter Singer, which is credited with kick-starting the modern animal rights movement. What does “animal liberation” even mean? See PETA’s summary of the book here to find out.

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  • Threedog says:

    You mean the cosmic monstrosities hellbent on annihilating all other life in the universe? The creature with blood soaked meat hooks growing out of its back, currently in the process of skewering a small family? Yeah, that sounds reasonable. I get that this is a parody, but seriously. Choose an alien race that isn’t literally DESIGNED to kill. You wouldn’t support a necromorph’s rights, would you?

  • Solegit says:

    Shame Tyranids are just a rip-off of Xenomorphs, a hive-mind insect-like organism from beyond the galaxy hell bent on devouring all life to make more of itself. Just sayin’.

  • Caccadura says:

    Oh you mean the Zerg that relies on massacring other species just so that they can take their DNA and turn them into mindless beasts of war?

  • Duran says:

    With the Zerg Swarm proper, there wouldn’t be enough space to house even an insignificant fraction of them on Earth for peaceful co-existence. Not to mention, depending on who was in charge of the Swarm, we would be eaten (not enslaved, just the complete destruction of all life, flora and fauna, on Earth.) Even the Zerg who aren’t controlled by through a hivemind (therefore, having free will) still only exist to eat and kill each other and anyone else within sensory distance. Imagine if elephants had the dexterity of a cheetah, armor plating, and claws the size of cars, and then multiply the number of those elephants by several thousand and give them the ability to use abstract thought and strategy. They have intelligence, sure, but only in the sense that they would use it to judge how powerful you were and how good it would be to eat you to enhance their own genetic profile. If any of those things settled on Earth, no matter where they settled, you better believe they’d be nuked right back off the planet and no-one would object. The only good Zerg is a dead Zerg.

  • PEDRO KANTOR CHAPTER MASTER OF THE CRIMSON FISTS says:

    Shame Zerg are just a rip-off of Tyranids, a hive-mind insect-like organism from beyond the galaxy hell bent on devouring all life to make more of itself. Just sayin’, you brought up grim? It’s getting full on Grimdark up in here.

  • Hmmm... says:

    I think that eventually, the starcraft story will culminate with the releasing of the zerg from the hive-mind enslavement they suffer under. Many of the comments point out that the zerg are controlled, and therefore should not have rights or be pitied, but I believe that control is a bad thing. Eventually the zerg will be freed once Kerrigan deals with a universe wide threat. We should start learning how to treat zerg respectfully, so when they finally stop tearing every human to shreds at the sight of him or her, we will be able to live in a shakey sort of harmony with them.

  • Kremlin KOA says:

    I would note that the Heart of the Swarm main campaign does show a sympathetic zergling very early on.

  • Zachary Rogers says:

    I get what you’re trying to say, but you used the wrong example. Zerglings are not a natural animal. They are little more than the genetically engineered, biological equivalent of the drones used by our armed forces. They have no will of there own, being directed by whatever force controls the Zerg at the time. This force will likely be attempting to destroy or enslave all life. You might be able to negotiate with Kerrigan, but until recently this would be likely to backfire horribly. By using such an example you have made an attempt at hyperbole, but succeeded in a complete farce.

  • Jay? says:

    Of course zerglings have feelings. They feel many things. Hunger. Gnawing Hunger. Excruciating Hunger. Hatred of non-zerg life. Extreme hunger. Slight peckishness.

  • Lugia3 says:

    The Zerglings have no mind of their own, as all zerg forms are a collective hive-mind. The zerg don’t feel pain as we know it.

  • Salawayun says:

    I do wonder if most of the people here are just too hooked up with the game’s universe or just plain dumb to not get Satire and Parody.

  • ColdFusion says:

    hardly surprising. each belief system has a nasty tendency to attack entertainment for not representing it in fiction. Whether it’s violence or some form of sexuality…

  • Fuzzybuns says:

    obviously every hater here doesn’t main zerg

  • MutaMan says:

    But.. zerglings don’t have feelings, and they kill humans. D:

  • Zegathra says:

    I agree that their is a level of stewardship humans should take, but the Zerg? Perhaps this is just my many years of gaming and inner brutality speaking, but the Zerg deserve to die. They are a viral plague to the the the high races, and if they are bold enough to challenge me, then they deserve the fate of battle. The only feelings they have are the sensations of pain as I slaughter. Natural Selection + War = No Mercy.

  • Eight says:

    Pff. Who cares? They respawn.

  • Derek says:

    I hate PETA, but I agree with Epiphany. I would buy this t-shirt. And would wear it… you know… ironically.