We’ve all seen the wooden crosses and other roadside memorials to loved ones killed in automobile accidents. Three years ago, the Georgia Department of Transportation, deeming the makeshift memorials a distraction to drivers and a safety hazard, began offering to place state-approved memorials at the sites of fatal wrecks.
For a $100 fee, GDOT places a white sign with the name of the deceased under the words, “Drive Safely, In Memory.”
Wednesday, a member of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, filed an application with GDOT to have a memorial placed at the Hall County site where a truck hauling live chickens overturned on Jan. 27.
The drivers of the chicken truck and the other vehicle involved were not seriously injured in the predawn crash on U.S. 129 near Gainesville, but “dozens” of the truck’s cargo were apparently not so fortunate, according to the local PETA member who filed the request for a “giant tombstone” to be erected in memory of the chickens.
“Although a relative of the deceased is usually required to fulfill requests for roadside memorials, I hope you will allow a concerned citizen such as me to suffice in this case,” Sarah Segal of Atlanta wrote in her application to GDOT. “These chickens, who spent their entire short lives … on a factory farm before their agonizing deaths, have no known living relatives.”
Segal said in a letter to GDOT that she was “writing as a Georgia resident to ask that you permit me to place a 10-foot tombstone memorial for one month on the right-of-way of U.S. 129 to commemorate the lives lost in this deadly crash.”
“We hope the tombstone will offer food for thought in the ‘Poultry Capital of the World’,” said PETA spokeswoman Shakira Croce.