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[Readings]

Surf, Turf, and Grief

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From an October 26 letter from Dina Kourda to Joe Dillman, the street-maintenance superintendent in Irvine, California.

As a concerned citizen of Irvine, I am writing today on behalf of PETA to ask for your approval to place a memorial sign on the public right-of-way as a tribute to the hundreds of fish who died as a result of a traffic collision this month. Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you’ll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case in order to remind drivers that all animals — whether they’re humans, basset hounds, or bass — value their lives and feel pain.

I propose that the sign read, in memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot, and that it be placed at the intersection of Walnut and Yale Avenues to memorialize the fish who spilled onto the roadway and suffocated or died from injuries after a truck carrying them collided with another vehicle. The proposed sign would also remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals who are hauled to their deaths every day.

Research tells us that fish use tools, tell time, sing, and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures, yet fish used for food are routinely crushed, impaled, cut open, and gutted, all while still conscious. Sparing them from being tossed from a speeding truck and slowly dying from injuries and suffocation seems the least we can do. Thank you for your consideration.

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February 2013