Utah rejects turkey memorial, PETA to appeal

Animal rights group PETA is appealing the rejection from the Utah Department of Transportation of the memorial sign for 720 turkeys that died in a truck accident in Utah on April 24.

The sign was proposed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals last week, and would say, “Drive Safely; Buckle Up: In Memory of Hundreds of Terrified Turkeys Who Died Here in a Truck Crash.”

The accident occurred near the Deer Creek Reservoir near U.S. 189, about 50 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The truck was en route to Norbest Inc., a turkey processing plant, when it crashed into the reservoir, killing all but two dozen turkeys.

The crash also caused the temporary shutdown of a key water supply aqueduct. KSL reported that Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the trailer carrying the turkeys “for some unknown reason struck the guard rail in that area” before rolling over the guardrail and falling into the reservoir, pulling 100 feet of guard rail with it.

The driver of the truck, 32-year-old Justin Neff, did not sustain critical injuries in the crash, but was ejected from the vehicle.

Amy Meyer, a Salt Lake City resident who proposed the sign, contacted Teri Newell, the region three director of UDOT who initially denied the request.

Meyer wrote, “These individuals, 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.”

The sign was almost immediately rejected for not complying with a requirement of a written agreement with the family of the deceased that the sign intends to memorialize. PETA’s main argument is they should be able to do it on the turkey’s behalf, as they have no known relatives with the ability to sign an agreement.

Meyer wrote that she is reminded of the “gruesome” deaths that occurred each time she passes the area, stating, “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”

Contact Kristen DeSilva at kdesilva@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva.

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