PETA Renews Request for Roadside Memorial To Lobsters

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Animal-rights activists are pressing on with an attempt to put up a 5-foot-tall tombstone memorial to lobsters who died in a roadside crash in Maine last week, even though state officials have denied their initial request.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked permission for the memorial at the site of the accident, but state officials on Thursday said no, citing safety.

Now the organization is asking for a site farther away from the crash.

“We still plan to place the memorial, which will remind drivers that they can help prevent more accidents like this, and spare lobsters and other sensitive, intelligent animals from abuse and a violent, painful death by eating vegan,” said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokesman Audrey Shircliff on Thursday afternoon, in an email message to New Boston Post.

The truck rollover on Route 1 in Brunswick, Maine on Wednesday, August 22 spilled about 60 to 70 crates carrying 7,000 pounds of lobsters, police told the Portland Press Herald. The lobsters subsequently could not be sold to consumers because they had been unrefrigerated for too long and exposed to rainwater.

Police did not say how many lobsters died.

But animal-rights activists want them remembered.

“PETA’s memorial would remind everyone that the best way to prevent such tragedies is to go vegan and thereby reduce the number of animals killed for food,” states an email message from Danielle Katz, director of the organization, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia, to the Maine Department of Transportation earlier this week. “Scientists have confirmed that lobsters have sophisticated nervous systems, and because crustaceans don’t enter a state of shock when injured, they feel every moment of their slow, painful death – whether torn limb from limb on the road or at the slaughterhouse or when they’re boiled alive in pots.”

She noted that Switzerland, which is a landlocked country, this past March enacted a law making it illegal to cook live lobsters in boiling water without first knocking them out.

“Even though lobsters have been known to suffer in confinement, the ones who died in the crash were packed into tight transport carriers, only to be violently thrown across the pavement, shells and limbs ripped from their bodies in the process,” Katz wrote. “At a time when animal transport accidents are becoming more common, this memorial would be an effective way to remind truck drivers and Brunswick residents of their responsibility to fellow motorists and animals.”

But state officials don’t allow signs or development along controlled-access highways like Route 1 in Brunswick, said Jim Billings, chief counsel of the Maine Department of Transportation.

“There are various reasons for the prohibition of signs, and in your case a tombstone memorial, within the control-of-access sections, but the main reason is safety,” Billings wrote in a letter to the PETA director Thursday. “… Control-of-access areas may 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 development and signs be allowed in these sections.”

The letter does not address whether the state transportation department might allow a memorial to slain lobsters along a stretch of Route 1 that isn’t in a controlled-access area.