People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked Maine officials for permission to build a five-foot tombstone to memorialize the site of an August truck crash that left thousands of lobsters scattered on the highway.
PETA says it would like to remember the "countless sensitive crustaceans" killed in the Aug. 22 crash in Brunswick, Maine, USA Today reports. The truck contained 7,000 pounds of lobster and backed up traffic for hours after its contents spilled onto the road.
The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries after, according to police, the vehicle likely hydroplaned in bad weather.
The epitaph of the gravestone would read, "In Memory of the Lobsters Who Suffered and Died at This Spot" and encourage people to "Try Vegan."
Maine’s Department of Transportation is reviewing PETA’s request, but state law limits the size of roadside memorials and requires them to be removed after 12 weeks.
Danielle Katz, director of PETA, says a memorial would "remind everyone that the best way to prevent such tragedies is to go vegan."
"Scientists have confirmed that lobsters have sophisticated nervous systems, and because crustaceans don’t enter a state of shock when injured, they feel every moment of their slow, painful death – whether from being torn limb from limb on the road or at the slaughterhouse or when they’re boiled alive in pots," Katz added.
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, has said lobsters likely do not feel pain, although he also noted the view is not a definitive conclusion.
PETA launched a similar defense of crustaceans last week when the group put up a billboard in Baltimore urging people to forgo eating crabs. The group said the sign is "part of a nationwide campaign to encourage diners to leave crabs and other sea animals off dinner plates and in their aquatic homes."
Jimmy’s Seafood was quick to respond to the billboard.
4 shrimp, 2 crabs, and one lobster died to create this beautiful masterpiece.
— Jimmy's Famous Seafood (@JimmysSeafood) August 26, 2018
Since 1998, PETA has euthanized over 36,000 animals, most of which were processed at the organization’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2016, for example, PETA euthanized almost 1,500 cats and dogs, while only 57 dogs under its care were adopted.