People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has
requested a permit for a sign marking the spot near the rural town
of Wallsburg where a truck hauling more than 700 live turkeys
crashed through a guard rail on U.S. Highway 189 and plunged into a
reservoir on April 24.
The driver survived with injuries suffered when he was thrown from
the cab of his truck, according to the Highway Patrol.
The PETA-proposed sign would include the Transportation Department's
standard safe-driving messages along with an image of a turkey and
the words, “In memory of the hundreds of terrified turkeys who died
here in a truck crash. Try vegan.”
“We are hoping (transportation officials) will see that this (is) a
great way to help save both human and animal lives,” Laura Cascada,
a senior campaign coordinator for PETA, said.
But in a letter sent Friday, the agency said PETA’s request did not
meet Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) policy standards for
roadside memorials, which are designed to pay tribute to highway
accident fatalities on behalf of grieving loved ones.
“UDOT will not make an exception to the policy in this case,”
TeriAnne Newell, an agency regional director wrote in response.
In a letter of appeal filed with the agency on Monday, PETA
countered that "turkeys in the factory farming industry have no
"These individuals (the turkeys), who develop strong bonds and feel
pain just as we do, are as deserving of our empathy as are human
crash victims, which is why I hope you'll allow me, a concerned Utah
resident, to erect this tribute," Salt Lake City-based PETA staffer
Amy Meyer wrote in the letter.
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"The sign will remind truck drivers of their duty to drive with the
utmost care as they haul hundreds of terrified animals to their
deaths, cutting down on these horrific collisions and making the
roads safer for all commuters," the letter said.
PETA has filed such memorial applications in multiple states,
including some for cows in New York and chickens in Georgia. To date
none of those requests has been granted.
(Reporting by Jennifer Dobner; Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia
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