Now, the animal rights group has set its sights on Pokemon, charging that the franchise's latest video game, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, paints a rosy picture of what amounts to thinly veiled animal abuse.
The organization says that much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for human entertainment and as subjects in experiments.
"The way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods," PETA claims.
In an attempt to save young minds who play the game, PETA has released a parody game called Pokemon Black and Blue: Gotta Free 'Em All which can be played on its site.
In an article that appears on Forbes' website, David Ewalt argues that "PETA seems to have missed the single biggest theme of the Pokémon series: That Pokémon should be treated humanely and live as our equals.
"The games are loaded with an endless stream of characters who go on and on about true friendship between man and Pokémon," he writes. "It's so saccharine and so completely opposite what PETA suggests that it boggles the mind."