In a continuing effort to explore issues that are important to our eternal salvation, I would like to discuss the proposal by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to put a small memorial near the spot on the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir where 700 turkeys lost their lives. In should be noted that the turkeys were on their way to Sanpete County UT, which is the turkey capital of the world. (Note that I have made no reference to the State Legislature in this post.)
First, some background. According to Erin Alberty writing for sltrib.com (1 May 2014):
About 700 turkeys were on board a semitrailer truck that went over a guardrail on U.S. Highway 189 [and plunged into Deer Creek Reservoir in Wasatch County, UT]. Many turkeys died [almost all].
The accident, not only left dead turkeys in the water, but also a small diesel fuel slick on the reservoir.
To commemorate the sad plight of the dead turkeys, PETA would like to erect a roadside memorial sign. According to PETA spokeswoman Amy Meyer:
The memorial will cut down on future accidents and make the roads safer for everyone by reminding tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals they haul every year.
It will also let commuters know that the best way to prevent these tragedies is to go vegan, sparing turkeys from spending their entire short lives mired in waste on factory farms and then being crammed into trucks for a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse.
All this raises some very important and pressing issues. What about the fish that are caught in Deer Creek Reservoir? What about the deer that are harvested on the highway through Provo Canyon? Do they also deserve a memorial? How many memorials are appropriate? Inquiring minds want to know.
I’m not sure that erecting a sign to veganism along a fairly dangerous stretch of highway is a particularly safe and sane thing to do. Particularly in a red-meat state like Utah. Maybe a short memorial service at the nearby state park would be a better idea.
Don’t get me wrong, animal rights (of a sort) are important to me.
- I’ve cut back drastically on my meat consumption,
- Poor animal conditions on farms and ranches are difficult for me to understand,
- I don’t fish or hunt,
- I don’t wear fur and have very few items made of leather, and
- I support personhood rights for great apes.
But the PETA proposal is a little over the top.
Having said that, I’m frequently in favor of supporting the “nuts.” After all, I am one. Maybe I can be convinced. Maybe a memorial to all the “unknown” dead animals that have perished needlessly at the hands of humanity might be better. Particularly if it located in a safe place and not along a dangerous stretch of highway.
Again according to the sltrib.com:
If the sign [memorial] is approved, Utah would become the first state to expressly authorize a PETA roadside memorial for livestock killed in transit. Similar requests were denied for crash sites in Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
PETA also has requests pending to place tombstone-style markers for turkeys that died in a crash in Iowa and cows that died in a crash in Albany, NY.
If you take these PETA requests and the silliness at Best Friends Sanctuary (near Kanab UT), it makes the cause of animal rights look ridiculous. According to humorist sltrib humorist Robert Kirby (4 May 2014):
There’s a line between raising awareness and evoking contempt that passion can seriously blur. The more fervently we believe something, the more likely it is to make us stupid.