PETA asks to build memorial to turkeys killed in Sioux City truck crash

Memorials not permitted within state's right of way, officials say

Turkeys on an Iowa farm. (Gazette file photo)
Turkeys on an Iowa farm. (Gazette file photo)

DES MOINES — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the Iowa Department of Transportation for permission to erect a 10-foot-tall memorial to the turkeys that perished in a Sioux City truck crash on April 12.

“The (Department of Transportation) doesn’t permit memorials at all,” Iowa Department of Transportation Director of Traffic and Safety Steve Gent said. “When they go up, we try to contact people to remove them to the right of way fence line.”

Alex Moore, a PETA staff member from Ankeny, wrote the proposed memorial would “remind commuters that the best way to prevent tragedies such as this one is to go vegan, because turkeys shouldn’t have to make terrifying trips to slaughterhouses at all.”

A mock-up of the suggested memorial features an image of turkey and urges people to “try vegan.”

Her letter suggests PETA erect the memorial for one month at Gordon Drive and South Alice Street in Sioux City where the truck tipped about 1:21 a.m. on a Saturday, according to a report in the Sioux City Journal.

Police cited driver Marko Dmitrijevic for speeding and failure to maintain control. His truck tipped onto its side and hit 10 parked vehicles, the paper reported.

Gent said he was drafting a response to Moore that would “probably be finished sometime this week.”

PETA spokeswoman Sophia Charchuk said the organization has tried to place memorials before, with little luck.

“In the past, we’ve applied in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin to memorialize hundreds of animals who have died in similar crashes, but so far, we haven’t been accepted,” she wrote in an email. “We are hopeful that this time, the Iowa Department of Transportation will agree with us that our memorial will help save many lives by reminding drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals they are hauling to their deaths each day as well as to other motorists.”

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