PETA won’t be getting a roadside tombstone to honor the thousands of lobsters that police say died in a truck crash last Wednesday.
The animal rights organization was asking for the memorial to honor the “countless sensitive crustaceans (that) experienced an agonizing death” in the accident, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a press release. PETA wanted to place the tombstone on the site of the crash.
Police estimated that around 4,500 lobsters died last Wednesday when a truck carrying the animals overturned in Brunswick, Maine, as reported by the Portland Press Herald. It’s believed the truck’s driver lost control because of rain.
Some of the lobsters died from being crushed, police say. Detective William Moir told The Bangor Daily News that the scene of lobster carnage “was something I’ve never seen before.”
Because of that, PETA wanted the 5-foot tombstone to urge drivers to “Try Vegan” and “prevent future suffering.”
“PETA hopes to pay tribute to these individuals who didn’t want to die,” Reiman said in the release, “with a memorial urging people to help prevent future suffering by keeping lobsters and all other animals off their plates.”
The Maine Department of Transportation denied PETA’s request. It explained in a letter that the tombstone can’t go up on the road, as “all forms of signs are prohibited along these corridors” because of a high amount of traffic.
Some Maine residents, like Janie Roy, seemed confused by PETA’s goal. Roy told The Bangor Daily News that putting a tombstone to remember the death of lobsters “goes way too far.”
“We don’t even put monuments up for people who die,” Roy told the newspaper. “What’s the difference between them falling on the road and dying or being thrown in [boiling] hot water? We eat them every single day. Either way they’re dead lobsters.”
Amber Canavan, a spokeswoman for PETA, said the organization will still try “to reach the people of Maine” in another way, CNN wrote.
It’s not the first time PETA has gone after a state’s prized seafood.
Earlier this month, the organization put up a sign in Baltimore, Maryland, with a picture of a crab that read “I’m ME, not MEAT.”
It didn’t take long for Jimmy’s Famous Seafood — which calls itself “Maryland’s authority on crab cakes & steamed crabs” on Twitter — to go after PETA.
And Jimmy’s Famous Seafood didn’t stop there.
Others joined in, too.
Despite the criticism, PETA hasn’t backed down from the controversial message.
“This billboard has caused quite a reaction in #Baltimore, but what’s there to disagree with,” it tweeted. “Crabs are intelligent, loving, & have strong senses of sight, smell, and taste—but in the U.S. hundreds of millions of crabs are killed every year and many are boiled alive.”