Maine Denies Animal Rights Group's Lobster Memorial Request

An animal rights group asking Maine officials to put up a tombstone in memory of lobsters that were killed after a truck crashed in Brunswick last week has been denied by state officials.

The Maine Department of Transportation sent a letter back Thursday saying no signs are allowed mostly for safety reasons.

"This organization is not being singled out," said Maine DOT spokesman Ted Talbot.

He said this section of Route 1 is considered a "Controlled Access Highway" and no signs are permitted there.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Wednesday that the group had sent a letter to the department requesting a 5-foot memorial to be placed near the site of the crash on Route 1.

The announcement was made one week after 60-70 crates of live lobsters, weighing about 7,000 pounds, were spilled onto the side of the road when a refrigerated box truck registered to Portland's Cozy Harbor Seafood, Inc. rolled over.

"Countless sensitive crustaceans experienced an agonizing death when this truck rolled over and their bodies came crashing down onto the highway," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "PETA hopes to pay tribute to these individuals who didn't want to die with a memorial urging people to help prevent future suffering by keeping lobsters and all other animals off their plates."

An image of the tombstone on PETA's website reads "In Memory of the Lobsters Who Suffered and Died at This Spot [in] August 2018," along with the phrase "Try Vegan."

A spokesperson for PETA said they have installed similar tombstones in other states to honor other kinds of anmals, and while their first attempt at memorializing lobsters with a grave marker has hit a roadblock, they hope to find another way to honor the lobsters.

"We're not going to give up on the animals here," said PETA Vegan Campaigner Amber Canavan. "We really want to start this conversation about the plight of aquatic animals. [Lobsters] are feeling, intelligent individuals, feeling pain, and we should give them consideration."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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