23/02/2019 09:22 GMT

PETA Faces Backlash Over 'Disrespectful' Steve Irwin Comments

The animal rights charity is being criticised for the second time this week.

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PETA 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.” 

The post soon received responses, with many coming from fans who disagreed with the sentiment.

Some also called for the charity to apologise to the Irwin family:

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”.  

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.