LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wants to place a tombstone on Interstate 71 to honor cows that died after a wreck.

Last week, a truck carrying more than 100 cows overturned in Henry County, killing several cows.

The proposed tribute says "In Memory of the Cows Who Suffered and Died at this Spot, August 2016. Try Vegan." The animal rights group says the memorial would remind all drivers -- especially those carrying animals to drive safely.

The Kentucky Transportation Department disagrees, saying these memorials are not allowed because they can be a distraction and safety hazard.

PETA's full statement:

In the wake of Thursday's incident in which a truck transporting 116 cows rolled over on I-71 and killed an unknown number of the animals-including seven who died in secondary wrecks when they and dozens of others bolted down the highway in fear-PETA rushed a letter yesterday to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet asking for approval to erect a 5-foot-tall tombstone memorial at the scene between mile markers 38 and 36. PETA's letter comes after another tragic accident on the same stretch of highway just this past April, in which nearly 100 pigs died on their way to slaughter.

The tribute would feature an image of a cow next the words "In Memory of the Cows Who Suffered and Died at This Spot, August 2016. Try Vegan" and would remind all drivers, including those with animals on board, to travel safely-while pointing out that we can all prevent further animal suffering and death by going vegan. 

"Over a short span, multiple crashes on this same stretch of highway have left dozens of animals mangled and suffering on an already terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. "PETA's roadside memorial will remind livestock transporters that the least they can do is drive safely and will encourage everyone on the road to think of the pain that these smart, sensitive animals endure for nothing more than a fleeting meal."

PETA-whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat"-notes that before cows are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughterhouses, they suffer immensely on industrialized meat and dairy farms. These sensitive, curious animals spend their short lives on cramped, filthy feedlots without protection from extreme temperatures. Calves are torn away from their mothers within hours of birth and are castrated and branded without painkillers. At the slaughterhouse, workers shoot cows in the head with a captive-bolt gun, hang them up by one leg, cut their throats, and skin them-often while they're still conscious.

PETA's letter to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

KYTC's response:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet strives to be sensitive to parties who seek to place roadside memorials on state highways.

However, these memorials - as well as signs, advertising or other installations - that appear on roadsides from time-to-time are not legal encroachments on the state's right of way. Such objects are not allowed because they can impede vision, become a driver distraction, or present a safety hazard to motorists, mowing crews and others if struck.

Like any encroachment, the Transportation Cabinet must address them on a case by case basis, recognizing that we don't have a dedicated staff to solely and immediately respond to these matters. In setting priorities for addressing all right of way encroachments, we give consideration to issues such as highway safety, maintenance needs, aesthetics and citizen complaints.

For their own safety and for the safety of the traveling public, we ask that people refrain from placing objects on rights of way. We would encourage PETA supporters to find alternative ways to remember the animals lost in the recent I-71 crash.

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