Snap Stills/REX/ShutterstockPETA has been labelled “disrespectful” and “pathetic” after its Twitter account posted comments about the late Steve Irwin. The conservationist and TV star was the subject of Friday’s ‘Google Doodle’, with the search engine featuring an illustration of Steve holding a crocodile to mark what would have been his 57th birthday. While the picture brought a smile to the faces of many fans, animal rights charity PETA seemed less than impressed.Their official account tweeted: ”#SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business.“Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.” #SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats. https://t.co/9JfJiBhGLw— PETA (@peta) February 22, 2019
The post soon received responses, with many coming from fans who disagreed with the sentiment.
Where is your habitat for saving animals? You have a wildlife preserve anywhere? Do you have 1,000’s of acres preserving animals from extinction?Steve Irwin spent his whole life wanting to save animals. Ya’ll are becoming “progressively” pathetic. What a croc.— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) February 23, 2019
Steve dedicated his life to animal conservation. He brought attention to animals who needed protection, and he taught a generation of children, including me, the value of all life. How each and every animal should be respected.Thank you Google, for recognizing #SteveIrwin https://t.co/r9n7cYNulu— Steven Spohn (@stevenspohn) February 22, 2019
Never mind what charity work he did for endangered animals, the funds he raised, animals he helped, the people he educated.. he was a brilliant person who did so much for so many people and animals. @peta you are wrong to disrespect such a wonderful man.— Silkie Allen (@Silkie_Allen) February 22, 2019
Steve Irwin and his family reclaim land for animals and run a massive wildlife rescue. 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. https://t.co/m4fdNymjao— Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) February 23, 2019
Steve Irwin saved the lives of countless animals in his sanctuaries. He helped educate millions globally about animals’ needs and ways of life. He loved animals and cared for them greatly. You do some good work helping animals PETA, but how about some balance and more respect… https://t.co/olpLCvKepN— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) February 22, 2019
Some also called for the charity to apologise to the Irwin family:There have been few people who have done more for wildlife conservation and education than the Irwin family. You owe them an apology.— Dave Hogg (@stareagle) February 23, 2019
They really do. It seems they are so desperate for publicity they are willing to say the most horrible and callous thingsz— Violet St.Claire 😈 (@VioletStClaire) February 23, 2019
As the criticism rolled in, PETA stood by their original message, claiming Irwin’s “actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife”. Steve Irwin’s actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife. A real wildlife expert & someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes.— PETA (@peta) February 23, 2019
It is harassment to drag exotic animals, including babies taken from their mothers, around from TV talk shows to conferences & force them to perform as Steve Irwin did. Animals deserve to live as they want to, not as humans demand––the #GoogleDoodle should represent that.— PETA (@peta) February 23, 2019
While Irwin was best-known for his various TV shows, the Australian was a passionate environmentalist and conservationist, who established two funds dedicating to protecting animals and also helped set up an International Crocodile Rescue programme. Shortly before he died, Steve had been working with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society action group, who disrupt Japanese whaling activity. In the wake of his death in 2006, at the age of 44, they renamed one of their boats in honour of Steve, a move that was blessed by his widow Terri. This is the second time this week that PETA has riled members of the public with comments about deceased people. On Tuesday, it was their Karl Lagerfeld “tribute” that stunned Twitter users, as they issued a statement bidding farewell to their “old nemesis” in a nod to the fact the designer’s collections often included animal products.