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Editorial: This PETA memorial idea is bit of a turkey

It was a tragic accident on April 24 near a rural Utah town where a truck hauling turkeys crashed through a guardrail on U.S. Highway 189 and plunged into a reservoir.

The driver was thrown clear of the truck cab, but survived with injuries, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. More than 700 live turkeys being transported in the truck were killed.

The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, filed a petition with the Utah Department of Transportation asking for a roadside memorial to be constructed at the site.

PETA proposed a sign which would have included the UDOT’s standard safe-driving message along with an image of a turkey and this accompanying statement, “In memory of the hundreds of terrified turkeys who died here in a truck crash. Try vegan.”

UDOT rightly rejected the request as it failed to meet the department’s policy standards for roadside memorials, “which are designed to pay tribute to highway accident fatalities on behalf of grieving loved ones.”

PETA has appealed. A PETA representative claimed “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.”

Apparently PETA has little feeling for the injured driver of this truck. We are sure the driver did not intentionally drive through the guardrail for a thrill ride or for revenge against his turkey passengers. Truck drivers of livestock and poultry strive to make sure their load arrives safely and on schedule because they do not want to put themselves at risk or cause production delays.

PETA has filed similar petitions in multiple states, including chickens in Georgia and cows in New York. What’s next? Memorials to deer killed in vehicle crashes in Minnesota or skunks run over in Iowa? To date, none of these silly requests has been granted.

One must compliment PETA though for their creative efforts to garner news coverage of their cause. Though this one is kind of a turkey.