A Turlock resident and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to pay homage to the chickens killed in a solo bog rig accident last week with a memorial along Highway 99 in Turlock.
Lauren Cervantes, with the assistance of PETA, sent a letter to the Stanislaus County Department of Public Works asking for approval to erect a 5-foot-tall tombstone memorial near the scene of the collision.
The accident on Aug. 5 occurred in a northbound lane of Highway 99, near the Lander Avenue exit around 4 a.m. The driver of the big rig, Mayra Alejandre, 23, of Turlock made an unsafe turn that caused the big rig to overturn, according to the California Highway Patrol. Alejandre was not injured in the collision, but an untold number of chickens from Mings Poultry Inc. out of San Francisco were killed or injured.
In her letter, Cervantes seeks to memorialize the lives of the chickens, while also calling attention to the number of animals transported on the highway and their ultimate destination.
"PETA's memorial would cut down on future accidents and make the roads safer for everyone, humans and other animals alike, by reminding tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to drive safely and conscientiously as they transport thousands of living beings to their deaths every day," Cervantes stated in her letter. "It would also let everyone who uses the roads know that the best way to prevent such tragedies is to reduce the number of animals who are sent to their deaths by going vegan, because chickens shouldn't ever have to spend their lives on filthy factory farms or endure a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse."
The proposed memorial would feature an image of a chicken next the words "In Memory of the Chickens Who Suffered and Died at This Spot, August 2016. Try Vegan."
"PETA's roadside memorial will remind everyone to prevent further tragedies to all animals - including humans - by driving safely, while also pointing to the pain that smart, sensitive chickens endure for nothing more than a fleeting meal," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a released statement.
Turlock has previously been the focus of PETA after approximately 50,000 hens were found in deplorable conditions. A majority of the hens were dead or eventually euthanized. A few went to live out their lives at a farm sanctuary out of state.
PETA said the memorial would be placed at the edge of the right-of-way farthest from the road in order to prevent it from interfering with traffic. It would also be paid for by PETA, which has nearly 3,000 members and supporters in the area, according to the organization.
PETA has previously applied for roadside memorials for animals who have died in highway crashes in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
Though the letter was sent to the Stanislaus County Department of Public Works, it is Caltrans that makes decisions about freeway signs.