An Irish animal rights group has provoked outrage after revealing it is in negotiations to place a billboard advertisement in Dublin showing a severed leg on a plate.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) admitted the idea for the controversial publicity campaign was inspired by the grisly real-life discovery last week of a human leg at a recycling plant in the Irish capital.

As previously reported by IrishCentral, a huge police investigation has been launched following the suspicious discovery of human remains dumped at a waste facility in west Dublin.

But PETA has been accused of making light of the investigation, with one local politician describing the organization’s latest publicity-seeking stunt as "sickening and disgusting".

PETA said it is already in talks with local advertisers "to place a thought-provoking new billboard in Dublin that shows a severed human leg on a plate".

And yesterday the group hit back at criticism and denied the idea for the poster was tasteless and an opportunistic shock tactic.

Its spokesperson Ben Williamson said "PETA is committed to decreasing suffering, in both animals and humans. What's tasteless is stuffing ourselves on animal remains.

"While people are understandably horrified by the idea of finding dismembered human remains, PETA is hoping that some good might come from pointing out that murder - no matter the victim - is wrong."

The organization has a history of running contentious publicity stunts in a bid to highlight the importance of animal rights.

But yesterday both politicians and groups representing murder victims said the latest campaign was a step too far.

Local councilor Daithi de Roiste slammed the deliberate use of human remains in the wake of the grim discovery as "sickening and disgusting".

He added: "PETA have shown a blatant insensitivity to the situation in west Dublin.

"A garda investigation is currently underway to establish what has occurred. For PETA to try and make light of the investigation is foolish, unwise and wrong. The severed remains that were found belong to a human being.

"That person will have family, friends and loved ones worried about them and I would call on PETA to stop trying to gain publicity out of such a sickening situation."

John Whelan, chairman of Advic, which is a charity run by the families of homicide victims, said: "The Peta ad is in poor taste and is very insensitive to families of victims of homicide whose loved ones were murdered."

The Irish Independent notes that it is not the first time PETA have engaged in a publicity stunt, pointing out that in the past the organization has attempted to link the drinking of cow's milk to autism, while on another occasion the group's members held a mock barbecue of humans on a street in Nashville, Tennessee.

Following their latest proposed campaign, some cynical observers on Twitter questioned whether the publicity-seeking group actually had any genuine intention of launching a new ad campaign.

One user asked: "Has PETA ever actually had to pay for an ad, or do they just tell the media they're considering it?"