Mock-up of a ten-foot-tall tombstone PETA wants to erect in Gainesville, Georgia

Gainesville, Georgia bills itself as "The poultry capital of the world." January 27 of this year was a dark day, then, because a truck carrying live chickens from Pilgrim's Farm overturned on US 129 near the city resulting in the deaths of "dozens" of chickens (the drivers were all right). People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is still not over the shock, however, and has asked the state Department of Transportation (GDOT) to be allowed to erect a ten-foot-tall tombstone at the crash site for a month in order "to commemorate the lives lost in this deadly crash." You read that correctly: a tombstone... ten feet tall... for chickens.

Atlanta resident Sarah Segal wrote the request letter on behalf of PETA, conceding that "a relative of the deceased is usually required to fulfill requests for roadside memorials," but seeking dispensation in order to honor "[t]hese chickens, who spent their entire short lives... on a factory farm before their agonizing deaths." PETA is out to highlight the fact that Gainesville is said to be the birth of "assembly line" slaughter, its national spokesperson hoping "the tombstone will offer food for thought in the 'Poultry Capital of the World.'" Pun no doubt intended. PETA would pay for the memorial, which would also "let people know that the best way to prevent crashes such as this one is to go vegan, because chickens shouldn't have to make the terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse at all."

The GDOT is certain to say "Go cluck yourselves," having already pledged to remove all homemade memorials on state roadsides that commemorate human deaths. The state says they can be a distraction to drivers or cause mourners to stand too close to the road, increasing the chance of another crash. Instead, it will offer 15-inch discs with the name of the deceased under the message, "Drive safely. In Memory," that cost $100 and will be placed at the site for a year, after which they'll be given to the purchasers. And that pretty much rules out a memorial wall to chickens.

You can watch a news report on the issue below.