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The animal rights association PETA has been criticised for tweets attacking Steve Irwin. It is the latest in a long line of marketing attempts which have backfired for PETA. They have been known in recent years for their controversial marketing. This time, PETA attacked Steve Irwin on what would have been his 57th birthday, Steve Irwin died in 2006. Google released a GoogleDoodle to celebrate Steve Irwin and in response, PETA tweeted to people celebrating his life. PETA tweeted: “ 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 sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.”

Steve Irwin is a beloved figure, known for educating millions of people across the world about animals. During his life, he hosted animal tv shows, documentaries and owned Australia Zoo, one of the most famous zoos in the world. He was an animal lover who spent much of his life rescuing and relocating animals that were in danger. He is credited for the change in attitude towards animals in Australia. His shows would often feature him moving dangerous animals such as snakes and crocodiles out of areas where they were a danger to humans. Prior to Steve Irwin publicly relocating these animals, they would often be killed by local people. Now, when someone sees a dangerous animal in Australia, they are much more likely to call a vet to have it removed.

Steve Irwin was killed in 2006 while filming a documentary about ocean animals. He was in the ocean filming when a stingray became startled by his shadow. The cameraman later said that he believed the stingray confused Steve’s shadow for that of a tiger shark, a hunter of stingrays. When startled, the 2.4m stingray mistakenly stabbed Steve in the heart. It was an outstandingly rare attack. There are only two people on record who have ever died in Australia from a stingray; Steve Irwin was the second.

Following the tweet, there was an immediate uproar across the internet. Steve’s animal conservationism is known across the world and as such, masses of people came to his defence. People attacked PETA for their longstanding questionable animal treatment. Opponents to PETA have long argued that the organisation does not work in the interest of animals but instead, focuses more on earning money and increasing its brand.

PETA has been criticised for killing as many as 95% of the animals that it receives each year. It has also been criticised for having extortionate spending. In 2015, PETA spent 75% of its donations on functional costs. Costs such as wages, rent, and marketing. This has led critics to argue that PETA is not spending the money it receives on animal welfare, but purely on expanding the PETA brand.

Animal activists have urged people to support other animal charities with a better track record of caring for animals.

Difficult words

Backfired: For a plan to have the opposite desired effect.

Harassing: To be aggressive and verbally attack someone.

Dangle: To hang or swing loosely.

Fawning: To show affection towards something.

Entitled: To feel you deserve or have the right to something.

Relocating: To move something to a new location.

Outstandingly: To be exceptional or out of the ordinary.

Conservationism: Protecting nature.

Uproar: For many people to shout or exclaim that they disapprove, cause chaos.

Longstanding: Something that has been around for a long time.

Extortionate: A price that is much too high.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: 

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

1. Backfire A. Pester
2. Harassing B. Chaos
3. Dangle C. Affection
4. Fawning D. Expensive
5. Relocating E.  Long-term
6. Outstandingly F. Rebound
7. Uproar G. Move
8. Longstanding H. Swing
9. Extortionate I.  Exceptional

True or False?

1.  PETA is a zoo located in Australia. T / F

2. Steve Irwin relocated many animals to keep them safe. T / F

3.  Everyone supports and agrees with PETA’s actions. T / F

4. Google celebrated Steve Irwin’s birthday. T / F

5. Steve Irwin is not known outside of Australia. T / F

6.  Steve Irwin changed people’s views on many dangerous looking animals. T / F

7. PETA spends 95% of its donations on giving comfortable homes to animals.  T / F

8. PETA wants to expand its brand. T / F

9. Steve Irwin owned a famous zoo. T / F

10. Stingrays are incredibly dangerous animals and have killed many people in Australia.  T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. rights / animal / PETA / association / been / The / criticised / has

2. the / in / is / towards / animals / credited / attitude / for / He / change

3. 2.4m / stabbed / heart / Steve / The / mistakenly / in / the / stingray

4. world / across / conservationism / is / animal / known / the / Steve’s

5. for / spending / has / having / also / criticised / extortionate / It / been

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: 

American English: 

Record Marketing Confused
Dangled Dangerous Beloved
Functional Mistakenly Conservationism

The animal rights association PETA has been criticised for tweets attacking Steve Irwin. It is the latest in a long line of ________________ attempts which have backfired for PETA. They have been known in recent years for their controversial marketing. This time, PETA attacked Steve Irwin on what would have been his 57th birthday, Steve Irwin died in 2006. Google released a GoogleDoodle to celebrate Steve Irwin and in response, PETA tweeted to people celebrating his life. PETA tweeted: “ was killed while harassing a ray; he _____________ his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.”

Steve Irwin is a _____________ figure, known for educating millions of people across the world about animals. During his life, he hosted animal tv shows, documentaries and owned Australia Zoo, one of the most famous zoos in the world. He was an animal lover who spent much of his life rescuing and relocating animals that were in danger. He is credited for the change in attitude towards animals in Australia. His shows would often feature him moving _______________ animals such as snakes and crocodiles out of areas where they were a danger to humans. Prior to Steve Irwin publicly relocating these animals, they would often be killed by local people. Now when someone sees a dangerous animal in Australia, they are much more likely to call a vet to have it removed.

Steve Irwin was killed in 2006 while filming a documentary about ocean animals. He was in the ocean filming when a stingray became startled by his shadow. The cameraman later said that he believed the stingray _____________ Steve’s shadow for that of a tiger shark, a hunter of stingrays. When startled, the 2.4m stingray _______________ stabbed Steve in the heart. It was an outstandingly rare attack. There are only two people on record who have ever died in Australia from a stingray; Steve Irwin was the second.

Following the tweet, there was an immediate uproar across the internet. Steve’s animal ____________________ is known across the world and as such, masses of people came to his defence. People attacked PETA for their longstanding questionable animal treatment. Opponents to PETA have long argued that the organisation does not work in the interest of animals but instead, focuses more on earning money and increasing its brand.

PETA has been criticised for killing as many as 95% of the animals that it receives each year. It has also been criticised for having extortionate spending. In 2015, PETA spent 75% of its donations on _____________ costs. Costs such as wages, rent, and marketing. This has led critics to argue that PETA is not spending the money it receives on animal welfare, but purely on expanding the PETA brand.

Animal activists have urged people to support other animal charities with a better track ____________ of caring for animals.

 

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Had you heard of Steve Irwin or PETA before reading this story?
5. How are animals treated in your country?
6. Are there any dangerous animals in your country?
7. Do you think animals need to be protected?
8. What do you think about PETA’s tweet?
9. What should normal people do to protect animals?
10. What do you think about PETA killing the animals it receives?
11. Are zoos good or bad for animals?
12. How are animal rights viewed in your country?
13. Have you ever given money to a charity?
14. Should people worry about how charities use donations?
15. Do you think charities make the world better?
16. Do you think we should all donate some of our salary to charity?
17. What are the most important areas regarding conservation in your country?
18. Is globalization making conservation efforts more difficult?
19. Is it our duty to keep the Earth in good condition?
20. Do you think our children will look after the Earth better than we have?