PETA attacks Steve Irwin’s legacy
AUSSIES paid tribute to the late Steve Irwin on Friday on what would've been his 57th birthday.
Google Doodle even shared a special design in honour of the Australian conservationist - along with an emotional guest post from his wife Terri Irwin, 54.
CRIKEY!— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) February 22, 2019
Today's #GoogleDoodle celebrates #SteveIrwin, the legendary Australian wildlife advocate & TV personality whose bravery & passion opened the eyes of millions to the wonders of wildlife. 🐊
Explore the full slideshow Doodle here → https://t.co/z8PPgDaXfr pic.twitter.com/mGtpwSuqzL
However, just as controversy followed Steve Irwin in life, his death has also sparked debate.
Animal rights organisation PETA had some choice words about Steve Irwin's legacy, and not all of them were well received.
#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
"Today's #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats," part of the tweet read.
While the post garnered 1.5k likes, the number of comments it generated (13k) seem to indicate a lot more people preferred to debate the tweet rather than 'like' the sentiment.
And based on the reaction, it appears to have struck a chord with Steve Irwin supporters and PETA haters alike.
May the spirit of Steve Irwin haunt them with possessed crocodiles.... pic.twitter.com/D0ydpwpRt9— DeVon2112 (@DeVon_FNMfan2K8) February 23, 2019
The overwhelming response prompted PETA to justify its stance.
"A real wildlife expert & someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes," they later posted.
But many remained unpersuaded.
Not only did their tweets spawn a hate thread on Reddit, PETA Presdient Ingrid Newkirk went on to give another statement on the issue.
"PETA must ask who commissioned these dangerous, hagiographic cartoons of a man who died while harassing a stingray, dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile, and "wrestled" wild animals who were minding their own business," she told Daily Mail Australia.
"This fawning, ignorant tribute is a slap in the face to the vast majority of people who acknowledge that wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats," she added.
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
Despite the backlash, Steve's loved ones - wife Terri, daughter Bindi, 21, and son Robert, 16 - continue to keep his mission and legacy alive.
"We are so proud that his legacy lives on, as that was his greatest wish," Terri wrote in her tribute to her husband. "He once said, 'I don't care if I'm remembered, as long as my message is remembered.'"
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