Gainesville, Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta, has earned the reputation as the “Poultry Capital of the World.” Thousands of chickens make their way through Gainesville on their way to and from the processing plants throughout Northeast Georgia. With so many chickens in transit, there was bound to be an accident involving a chicken truck at some point. On January 27, a truck carrying live chickens overturned on a highway in Gainesville.
When humans die in automobile accidents, we often see makeshift memorials at the crash site. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has begun placing state-approved memorials at sites for a $100 fee at the request of family members. PETA has stepped in, petitioning GDOT for a memorial to the chickens killed in the January 27 crash.
The drivers of the chicken truck and the other vehicle involved were not seriously injured in the predawn crash on U.S. 129 near Gainesville, but “dozens” of the truck’s cargo were apparently not so fortunate, according to the local PETA member who filed the request for a “giant tombstone” to be erected in memory of the chickens.
“Although a relative of the deceased is usually required to fulfill requests for roadside memorials, I hope you will allow a concerned citizen such as me to suffice in this case,” Sarah Segal of Atlanta wrote in her application to GDOT. “These chickens, who spent their entire short lives … on a factory farm before their agonizing deaths, have no known living relatives.”
A spokeswoman for PETA has stated that the memorial will serve as “food for thought” to Gainesville’s residents and travelers in the area. Of course, with the poultry industry employing thousands of residents in the region, Gainesville is likely to view the monument as an object of ridicule and the publicity stunt that it really is. There’s no word yet on the state’s response to the request.