PETA seeks roadside memorial for pigs killed in I-15 crash

A proposed memorial for pigs that died in a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Oct. 24, 2016 | Image courtesy of PETA, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A proposed memorial to slain swine would encourage more people to replace pork with veggies.

A proposed memorial for pigs that died in a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Oct. 24, 2016 | Image courtesy of PETA, St. George News
A proposed memorial for pigs that died in a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Oct. 24, 2016 | Image courtesy of PETA, St. George News

The animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking for permission to place a roadside memorial promoting veganism near the spot where dozens of pigs met their death in a crash Oct. 17.

The organization sent a letter Monday to the Arizona Department of Transportation expressing sorrow for the fallen hogs and asking for approval to erect a tombstone memorial at the scene of the crash in the Virgin River Gorge near Arizona mile marker 16 on Interstate 15.

A mock-up of the proposed tribute features an image of a pig and reads “In Memory of the Pigs Who Suffered and Died at This Spot. October 2016. Try Vegan.”

“These pigs were already in the midst of a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse when they were left bleeding, suffering and dying on the side of the highway, all for someone’s fleeting taste of bacon,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a news release.

“PETA hopes this roadside memorial will encourage all travelers to give a thought to the suffering that these smart, sensitive animals endure and choose vegan meals.”

Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

However, a representative from ADOT told St. George News that ADOT’s policy allowing highway memorial markers applies to “a person or persons.”

Only memorials dedicated to human casualties are allowed under the policy, negating any chance the proposed pig memorial would be allowed to be erected, ADOT officials said in a press statement. Further, any memorial that is placed without notifying ADOT and following its guidelines will be removed without notice.

The Oct. 17 incident occurred when a semitractor-trailer carrying livestock experienced mechanical difficulties and crashed into a barrier dividing lanes on Interstate 15. The trailer broke open, releasing injured and dead pigs into the roadway.

About 30 of the 172 pigs in the truck were thrown or fell from the trailer and wandered into both northbound and southbound lanes of I-15, closing the southbound lane for several hours. Local ranchers responded to help round up the pigs.

Crashes involving livestock have occurred frequently along the country’s interstate highways, including similar incidents in Utah last year involving pigs and sheep.

UPDATE Thursday 8:35 p.m. Following the Arizona Department of Transportation’s denial to allow a roadside memorial commemorating the dead pigs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals appealed the denial in a letter to District Encroachment Permit Supervisor Vernon V. Dumbeck.

“I’m writing to urge you to reconsider your decision to reject PETA’s roadside memorial commemorating the lives of the pigs who died in the recent transport truck crash on Interstate 15. According to ADOT, the memorial program was designed for human casualties, but pigs are similar to humans in all the ways that truly matter — they have the ability to feel pain and fear, and they are as deserving of our empathy as human crash victims are,” PETA Associate Director Danielle Katz said in the letter appealing ADOT’s denial.

“… PETA’s memorial would encourage everyone to stop contributing to needless suffering and violence by adopting a vegan lifestyle. The memorial would also remind truck drivers of their duty to drive with the utmost care as they haul hundreds of terrified animals to slaughterhouses … PETA’s tribute is a win-win situation for everyone — truck drivers, commuters, and animals alike,” the letter continued.

ADOT’s guidelines for such memorials states roadside memorials are only allowed for people.

“We reiterated our denial,” ADOT representative Steve Elliott said when asked about the appeal.

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22 Comments

  • think4urself October 24, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    While this was a sad and tragic accident, let’s face the reality that the pigs were most likely on their way to the slaughter house. Spending money on a memorial like this is not only an extreme measure it is also an extreme waste of money! PETA please show us your not this ridiculous and use the money to actually fight for animals rights!

    • NotSoFast October 24, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Plus it’s a slap in the face to the Muslim and Jewish communities Road kill is just that, road kill. Spend your money on helping the animal shelters.

    • .... October 24, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      I think PETA needs to let this go. It’s obvious where those pigs were going.

    • amydonovan October 28, 2016 at 11:03 am

      So it’s okay for animals who are going to die anyhow to suffer? Pigs are sentient beings who feel pain and fear. If such a memorial could make just one person see that pigs are more than bacon and convince them to give up meat, then it is money well spent.

    • Lucy October 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

      You’re right that it’s too late to help the pigs who suffered and died in this crash, but using this horrible event to draw attention to the routine cruelty that’s inflicted on other animals in the meat industry can help encourage people to make the kind choice to save animals’ lives by leaving them off their plates.

    • Michelle October 28, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Well, I think that’s the point. They want to point out how these animals suffered and how they would have suffered anyhow for the meat industry to try to encourage people to reject that cruelty. Thus saving more animals from suffering. 🙂

  • Bob October 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    the caption on the memorial should read “in loving memory of 1500 pounds of wasted bacon. A tragic loss of all that deliciousness”

    • Bob October 24, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      but again, it’s nothing to me cuz i’m giving up cured meats, lol. The pigs that were wasted as road kill will get to be bacon up in the celestial kingdom or on planet Kolob. LOL

  • 42214 October 25, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I hope Saturday night live hears about this. It would make for a great comedy skit.

  • digger October 25, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I am Very Confused as To How This Is News. Really?, Im so Glad The Driver Escaped with His Life However.
    I am Certain The Hogs families appreciate the Sentiment , But CMON Man!!!!

  • Paul Jensen October 25, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Mmmmmmmm BACON!

    • amydonovan October 28, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Hmmmmmmmmm, unoriginal and ignorant comment

  • Cindy October 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Maybe PeTA should consider putting up a memorial at their office for the hundreds of dogs and cats that suffer and die on that property every year in their so-called “rescue”. I mean if it’s good for the gander…..

    • mesaman October 25, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      I was thinking along the same lines but for the hundreds of deer that are killed annually across the state, and not by poachers or hunters. I note that in Alaska it is the duty of the Wildlife officers to remove the dead carcasses from the roads. Not in Utah. Could someone (preferably from the Utah Fish and Game) explain why this is so?

    • Lucy October 28, 2016 at 11:23 am

      PETA is a shelter of last resort for animals who need euthanasia to end their suffering, including dogs who are aggressive and unadoptable because they have been kept chained their entire lives; feral cats dying of contagious diseases; animals who are wracked with cancer; elderly animals who have no quality of life and whose desperate guardians brought them to PETA because they can’t afford to pay a vet to euthanize them; and the list goes on. There is a world of difference between providing a merciful end to suffering and killing animals just because you want to eat them. This video shows some of the animals PETA has helped in its community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3AxNgrU51o.

  • Paul October 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Let’s not forget the Turkeys that bravely gave up their lives when the truck they were traveling in plunged them to their death in the waters of Deer Creek Reservoir.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2014/05/07/roadside-memorial-for-terrified-turkeys-killed-in-crash-is-pushed-by-peta/

  • 556poor October 25, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I thought this was a joke till I read the article I guess PETA is the joke. I’m going to buy a few pounds of bacon in their honor, recently saw a good recipe for bacon tacos where the shell is made from bacon pure goodness.

  • Kim October 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

    That’s too bad. The city passed up a ripe opportunity to promote healthy, Earth-friendly, and cruelty-free food.

  • Craig October 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Why shouldn’t the pigs have a memorial? They didn’t want to die–on the road or in a slaughterhouse. I memorial might not just get us to drive more carefully, it might make us think twice about what we put on our plates.

  • Paula October 28, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Pigs are smart, sentient beings who can feel pain. If dogs had been killed in a similar highway accident, would we really think it so ludicrous to suggest recognizing their suffering?

  • Jennofur October 31, 2016 at 5:32 am

    I think this is a lovely idea. Surely, it’s not too much to ask people to spare a fleeting thought to all the pigs and other animals who life in misery and die in agony for a meal.

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