PETA has once again found itself on the wrong side of public opinion after sparking a huge backlash from its tweets criticizing the late Steve Irwin, a much-loved TV presenter and conservationist who passed away in 2006.
The animal rights group decided to go on the attack on what would’ve been Irwin’s 57th birthday, after Google decided to honor his memory with one of their ‘doodles.’
“Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Steve Irwin, the legendary Australian wildlife advocate & TV personality whose bravery & passion opened the eyes of millions to the wonders of wildlife,” Google tweeted, alongside a sweet tribute picture of the ‘crocodile hunter.’ People’s reactions were overwhelmingly positive, sharing their favorite memories of the lovable larrikin and some saying they were moved to tears.
However, PETA, with their usual smug, contrarian and joy-killing attitude, was having none of it. “Steve Irwin was killed while harassing a ray,” they wrote. “He dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile and wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s Google Doodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.”
Needless to say, people were far from impressed. While there may be a glimmer of a point in PETA’s controversial statement, Irwin did, of course, dramatize his show by getting quite physical with animals at times, his fans were quick to point out the hypocrisy of PETA. Some highlighted the high rate of euthanasia use in their shelters and their lack of tangible conservation efforts; Irwin and his family founded and maintain a large conservation sanctuary, contributing to the protection and rehabilitation of thousands of animals, while PETA seems to spend more and more time creating divisive and controversial ‘awareness’ campaigns.