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23 Feb, 2019 14:09

PETA faces Twitter wrath for slamming Steve Irwin on deceased star’s birthday

PETA faces Twitter wrath for slamming Steve Irwin on deceased star’s birthday

Animal rights group PETA has brought a maelstrom of controversy upon itself for criticizing Australian conservationist Steve Irwin on what would have been the much-loved ‘crocodile hunter’s’ 57th birthday.

Google paid tribute to the famous zookeeper on its homepage on Friday by replacing its logo with a cartoon of Irwin holding a crocodile. It was the first in a series of illustrations depicting the famous Aussie’s adventures.

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The homepage sparked a flood of searches relating to the TV star, who died after being pierced in the heart by a stingray in 2006. It also drew the ire of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who accused the internet giant of sending a “dangerous fawning message.”

In an entirely predictable turn of events, those comments were not well received on Twitter, with thousands of people unleashing their fury at PETA. At the time of writing, the message has attracted around 1,600 retweets but it has inspired a staggering 40,000 responses.

The replies offer a severe analysis of PETA’s actions with many accusing the controversial lobby group of courting publicity at any price. YouTuber Ryan Magee accused the activists of “rage marketing” and “dragging a beloved dead man’s name through the mud”.

“Steve Irwin and his family reclaim land for animals and run a massive wildlife rescue,” author Maureen Johnson wrote. “His life mission was to save animals and educate people about them. I’m one of many vegetarians who rip out their hair when @peta weighs in. Shame on you.”

Tweets mentioning PETA’s euthanasia stats also received thousands of likes and retweets. The group says it carries out euthanizations on compassionate grounds.

READ MORE: 'Feed a fed horse': PETA suggests butchering idioms to avoid 'anti-animal' language

PETA later doubled down on its severely ratioed tweet, accusing Irwin of harassing animals and saying his actions were “not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife.”

It has not issued an apology and it doesn’t look like one will be forthcoming any time soon.

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