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PETA to hand out Zerg anti-abuse pamphlets at StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm launch

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Animal rights group PETA will attend the midnight release of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm in Irvine, Calif., as part of a campaign to remind players to "have compassion for all beings," including those in the game.

"Zerglings Have Feelings, Too" is intended to help players view StarCraft 2's Zerg species with empathy, director of marketing Joel Bartlett said. In Starcraft 2, the Zerg is a race of arthropodal aliens and the game's main antagonists. In Heart of the Swarm, players will control Zerg queen Sarah Kerrigan and her broods as she seeks revenge on her former Terran allies.

"To paraphrase a great philosopher, the question is not 'Can Zerg reason?' nor 'Can they talk?' but 'Can they suffer when attacked with a Perdition flamethrower,'" Bartlett said. "PETA is full of StarCraft players, but we've always had empathy for the Zerg — and for anyone who is killed without consideration because they don't speak our language."

According to PETA's campaign, the Zerg are "killed or abused simply because the Terrans can't or won't understand them."

Blizzard, on the other hand, describes the Zerg as "ruthless killing machines" intent on driving the "zerg imperative of achieving absolute domination." We have contacted the company for comment.

PETA will be in attendance at the GameStop located in the Irvine Spectrum Mall at 9 p.m. on Monday, March 11. StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will be available March 12 for Windows PC and Mac.