PETA denied permission to erect roadside gravestone for lobsters killed in truck crash
PETA had requested the Maine Department of Transport permission to put up a sign honoring the lobsters killed in an August 22 truck accident.
Following the August 22 crash of a truck carrying 7,000 pounds of live lobster along Route 1 in Brunswick, Maine, that spilled the crustaceans all along the highway and backed traffic up for hours, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had requested permission from officials to erect a roadside gravestone. According to the Brunswick Police, the Cozy Harbor Seafood Inc. truck was carrying 60-70 crates of the lobsters and that the vehicle hydroplaned, sending it rolling down a steep embankment. The top of the truck was reportedly ripped open during the accident that took place approximately at 11:30 p.m.
Last week a Cozy Harbor Seafood truck carrying roughly 70 crates of live lobster rolled over on Route 1 in Brunswick. Some of the crustaceans died— @peta is asking for permission to put a memorial up in honor of those that died. pic.twitter.com/ivk3tyTOYt— Sam Read (@SamWGME) 29 August 2018
The department told WGME-TV that several of the lobsters the truck was carrying got crushed as a result of the rollover. Commenting on the accident, detective William Moir had said, "It was something I've never seen before. Some lobsters were loose on the ground from being spilled over, so we went to work to save the ones we could."
In a subsequent letter sent by PETA to the Maine Department of Transportation, the Norfolk-based animal rights organization said it wanted to memorialize the "countless sensitive crustaceans" killed during the crash, according to a release by the group. The animal rights' executive president Tracy Reiman said, "PETA hopes to pay tribute to these individuals who didn't want to die with a memorial urging people to help prevent future suffering by keeping lobsters and all other animals off their plates." However, that request for a gravestone has now been denied.
In their response "respectfully denying" the request, the department explained that Route 1 is a Controlled-Access Highway and that all forms of signs were prohibited along those corridors. But they cited the main reason for the turning down was concerns that it would hinder safety. They wrote that these areas have "a very high volume of car and truck traffic as well as a high-speed limit that could create a potential hazard to motorists" should the sign be allowed.
Speaking to the Portland Press Herald, transportation department spokesman Ted Talbot also said that temporary signs such as the one asked for by PETA could be no larger than 4 feet by 8 feet and could only be in public for up to 12 weeks. If the gravestone had been approved, it would have read, "In Memory of the Lobsters Who Suffered and Died at This Spot," and urged people to "Try Vegan." The organization said it hoped the memorial would discourage passerby from eating lobsters, which are often boiled alive as part of the preparation of the dish.
This isn't the first time that they have tried to discourage the consumption of sea creatures either. Just last week, the group erected a billboard in Maryland asking people to stop eating crabs and go vegan. In a statement, PETA said it had erected the sign as "part of a nationwide campaign to encourage diners to leave crabs and other sea animals off dinner plates and in their aquatic homes."