Even the videogame world is not free from the ever-watchful eye of PETA.

In the wake of Nintendo's release of "Super Mario World 3D" for the company's handheld 3DS system, the animal rights org has launched a new campaign targeting the iconic lead character and his use of of fur.

"When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy," PETA stated on its website. "Even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers."

In Japanese mythology, tanuki (or raccoon dogs) have supernatural powers.

While the group acknowledges that the outfit used in the game is a suit, it goes on to say that "in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki [tanuki], Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur."

To counter Nintendo's new game, PETA came up with a parody version of Super Mario World that features players helping a skinned Tanooki reclaim his fur from a bloodied (and disturbing) Mario.

In response, the videogame maker said that none of Mario's "weapons" are meant to promote anything outside of the gameplay.

"Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games," a spokesperson told the site Eurogamer. "These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play. The different forms that Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves."

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

PETA targets Mario's tanuki suit
Animal rights group says the famous videogame character sends the wrong message by wearing the skin of a raccoon to gain superpowers.