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Animal rights group seeks Utah roadside memorial for dead turkeys

By Laila Kearney

(Reuters) - Animal rights activists want to erect a roadside memorial placard to honor hundreds of "terrified turkeys" killed in a tractor-trailer accident on a Utah highway last week, transportation officials said on Friday.

The sign, which an official said was not likely to be approved, would be placed near the crash site in the rural town of Wallsburg, where a truck hauling about 700 live, crated turkeys crashed through a guard rail and landed in a reservoir on April 24.

"In memory of the hundreds of terrified turkeys who died here in a truck crash. Try vegan," is the proposed message on the sign that would also display the image of a turkey. Placement would be under a standard Utah traffic sign that says "Drive Safely. Buckle Up."

Only about two-dozen of the birds survived the crash, said Laura Cascada, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the group applying for the sign.

PETA filed their request with the Utah Department of Transportation on Wednesday, and transportation spokesman John Gleason said such a proposal was unlikely to go through.

"The purpose of the roadside memorial is to meet the needs of grieving family members," Gleason said. "It's specific to people who have lost their lives on Utah roads, and would not cover animals."

Cascada said PETA has filed applications for memorials in several states, including some for cows in New York and chickens in Georgia. So far, none have been accepted.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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