People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have asked video gamers to remember that pan-galactic alien death monsters "have feelings, too".
In a PR stunt timed to match the launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the animal rights group has printed leaflets calling on gamers to spare the lives of the nightmarish Zergling army.
In StarCraft lore, the Zerg are an insect-like race beset on conquering the galaxy.
But just as they warned last year that capturing Pokemon was actually indicative of a hatred of animals, PETA argue that gamers "should have compassion for all beings—even those who are very different from us".
At the midnight release of the game in California, PETA apparently handed out the leaflets and urged gamers to spare their digital lives - or at least rethink how they treat their actual animals and pets.
In a blog post, PETA said:
"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.ADVERTISEMENT
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."
Above: the leaflet in full
Unfortuantely for PETA, their parody has been met and raised by a video gaming website, who asked a humanoid Hyperion soldier whether he would consider sparing his enemies lives.
"The problem with explaining zerglings to these tsetse flies," said the fictional soldier in reference to the animal right's group's fictional campaign to protect the fictional aliens, "is that they've got no frame of reference".
"They think a zergling is like a Terran animal -- that if you raise 'em up right, you can train out the aggressive instincts, or keep their mandibles trimmed, or something like that. But zergs don't work that way."