MUNCIE, Ind. — PETA says it will rent a billboard to pay tribute to the cattle that were killed and injured when a semi tractor-trailer overturned on an exit ramp of Interstate 69 at Ind. 332.
The intent of the billboard is to display the image of a cow next to the words "I'm ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan" — is to point out that "we can all prevent further animal suffering and death by choosing only cruelty-free food," the organization said in a news release.
"If anyone is horrified by these crashes, the billboard will let them know there is something they can do about it," PETA spokesperson Amber Cavanan told The Star Press. "They can change their lifestyle so they're not supporting this cruelty … Every vegan saves 100 land animals a year."
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the voice of the American beef industry, says what's unfortunate about the incident is that "animal rights activists have chosen to capitalize" on it.
In the news release PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman was quoted as saying: "This overturned truck killed nearly 20 gentle cows, and the ones who survived are most likely back on their way to the slaughterhouse. PETA's billboard will let travelers know that the best way to prevent such tragedies is to keep animals off the road in the first place by going vegan."
The image of an individual cow will appear on the billboard because "people might not see them as living, feeling, intelligent beings," Cavanan said." They see them as meat. We are trying to change that by reminding everyone that they feel pain, they have families, and they don't want to be trucked to a slaughterhouse, hung upside down and have their throats slit."
The truck driver, Chester Smith, 69, Stanton, Ky., told police he was northbound on I-69 at 60 mph when a car switched lanes right in front of him, forcing him onto the exit ramp where his rig rolled onto its left side on a hill. It happened around 4:20 a.m. on July 11.
In PETA's own words:
PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.
Perhaps they could also find it in their hearts to contend for the life of unborn human beings.