Maine’s government turned down a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to establish a roadside memorial for the 7,000 lobsters killed after they were involved in a highway crash.

Around 7,000 pounds of Portland, Maine-based Cozy Harbor’s live lobsters were dumped onto Route 1 in Brunswick, Maine, when a semi truck overturned on August 22.

A mock-up of the proposed PETA lobster memorial. PETA image.

On August 29, PETA asked the Maine Department of Transportation for permission to place a five-foot tombstone memorial near the crash site. The proposed tombstone would state: “In memory of the lobsters who suffered and died at this spot. August 2018. Try vegan. PETA.”

"Countless sensitive crustaceans experienced an agonizing death when this truck rolled over and their bodies came crashing down onto the highway," said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in a press release. "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."

MDOT turned down the request because of safety concerns.

“Control-of-access areas may have a very high volume of car and truck traffic as well as a high speed limit that could create a potential hazard to motorists should development and signs be allowed in these sections,” wrote Jim Billings, chief counsel for MDOT, in a response to PETA’s request.

However, the organization is still pushing for a lobster memorial.

“There might be some other avenue we can try. We have asked MDOT if there is another spot that would be allowable nearby,” Amber Canavan, vegan campaigner for PETA, told SeafoodSource.

While PETA has asked other states to erect billboards near crash sites of animal transport trucks, it did not pursue that avenue in this case because “Maine is very restrictive on outdoor advertising,” said Canavan.

While the PETA request did not elicit any response from the seafood industry, some people who heard about the accident have reached out to PETA looking for alternatives to eating meat and seafood, according to Canavan.

Meanwhile, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood is targeting PETA in a series of tweets this week, after the organization posted a billboard in Baltimore, Maryland. Sporting an image of a Maryland blue crab, the billboard states, “I’m me, not meat. See the individual. Go vegan.”

The chain, citing reports that PETA has euthanized thousands of cats and dogs at its U.S. shelters, tweeted, “@PETA: Don’t want to be boiled alive but want to be slaughtered. Got it!”

Jimmy’s also posted a photo of a cooked, whole lobster topped with crab and shrimp with the message: “4 shrimp, 2 crabs, and one lobster died to create this beautiful masterpiece. That’s still 35,993 less animals than @peta has slaughtered.”

This story was originally published by Seafood Source and is republished here with permission.

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Christine Blank is a contributing editor for and a veteran freelance writer and editor who covers all aspects of the seafood industry, from fishing to processing to selling and serving the final product.

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