As the owner of a rescued dog, I tend to support PETA in its calls for animal rights. However, sometimes that organization has a tendency to go overboard. Like right now. The animal rights group has lodged a complaint against Electronic Arts and DICE's Battlefield 3 in press release form (via BF3Blog), calling out the game's "sadistic" treatment of animals as exemplified in an early campaign scene involving a rat's run-in with your combat knife.
I'm familiar with the scene in question, having played through it twice after failing the related QTE on my first runthrough. While I'd lodge complaint against that scene's ridiculously tiny "press the button now!" QTE window, the rat killing really doesn't seem like something that PETA or anyone else should be getting worked up over.
The game in that moment presents players with a survival situation in which they must creep quietly amidst a much larger enemy force under the cover of night. The rat in question scampers into your field of view while you're crawling through an exposed water pipe. Fail the QTE that pops up and the little rodent bites your fingers, causing enough of a stir to alert a nearby enemy and end your virtual life. In an amusing touch, your character's dying act is to flip off the rat before the screen fades to black.
Successfully completing the QTE triggers a scene in which you stab the rat through the back with your combat knife and then toss its corpse aside. For this reason, PETA has determined that "Battlefield 3 treats animals in a sadistic manner." Which is bonkers.
For one, we can safely assume that no animals were harmed in the making of this video game. Beyond that, killing a rat in order to keep yourself alive in a survival situation is in no way "sadistic." I wish I could take PETA more seriously, but it's very hard to when the organization levels complaints like this one.