PETA plans to post pro-vegan billboard near site where truck crashed, spilling cows onto a Utah freeway

The crash spilled cattle from an overpass onto I-15.

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Emergency crews respond to a crashed semi truck hauling cattle on an Interstate 84 overpass in Riverdale Wednesday, November 22, 2017. While taking the I-15 southbound ramp onto eastbound I-84 at 11:30 a.m., the weight in the semi truck shifted, and the truck tipped over, according to Utah Highway Patrol officials. The truck driver had been speeding, UHP said.

PETA is responding to a Nov. 22 rollover crash that spilled a truck of cattle off an overpass and onto Interstate 15, killing several of the cows.

“We really want to remind everyone that no animal wants to die a painful death,” said Amber Canavan, spokeswoman for the group.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to memorialize the site by adorning a nearby billboard with its “I’m ME, not MEAT” campaign, which promotes veganism.

(Photo courtesy of PETA) PETA's holiday campaign promoting a vegan diet is expanding to Riverdale and with adorn a billboard near the site of a Nov. 22 accident where a semitruck turned over, spilling cattle from an overpass onto Interstate 15. Multiple cows were killed.

PETA announced the campaign Nov. 16 on its website, saying it’s a response to the meat-heavy holiday season. The blitz will hit major U.S. cities in November and December, and the ads will often appear near fast-food restaurants.

Canavan said PETA learned of the crash because locals sent it news reports. The organization is looking for a site near the scene of the crash, and it expects that the billboard will be up for about a month.

“The images are grisly and shocking to people,” she said. “Obviously they are upsetting to see these animals suffering in broad daylight.”

The crash occurred when a semitruck exceeded the suggested speed limit around a bend on an Interstate 84 overpass in Riverdale. The weight in its trailer shifted, tipping the truck.

About 25 cattle fell onto the interstate, closing roads and backing up traffic for hours.

"Cows plummeted from an overpass and lay dying on the pavement, and those who survived the terrifying crash presumably ended up facing the slaughterhouse knife," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. "PETA's billboard urges motorists to prevent needless deaths like these by keeping cows and all other animals off their plates."

While the Utah site will be a little different than the rest of the campaign, the crash resonated with the activist group. PETA published a blog post about it Tuesday.

“These accidents are upsetting to people, but it gives us a glimpse into the suffering that the meat industry tries to keep secret,” Canavan said.

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