Friday, November 02, 2012

PETA Wants to Memorialize Dead California Fish

Combine California and PETA and what do you get? One of the most woolly-headed, half-baked ideas to ever come out of a Birkenstock-sponsored drum circle.

Dina Kourda, resident of Irvine, California and a PETA volunteer, is asking the city to install a sign to memorialize hundreds of fish that were killed in a traffic crash last month, as they were headed to the Irvine Ranch Market.

She wants the sign to read "In memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot."

Instead of the spot where they were all going to be sold for people to eat.

The crash in question involved a truck carrying 1,600 pounds of live salt water bass and several tanks of oxygen used to keep the fish alive, and two other vehicles. Hopefully vehicles carrying jars of tartar sauce and crates of lemons. Ooh, and with a small crate of parsley as a nice garnish!

Kourda wrote a letter, probably with an organic blueberry ink pen and paper made of dryer lint, to Irvine's street maintenance chief asking him to please place the sign at the accident site.

"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," said Kourda.

Right, because if there's something Irvine's street maintenance department has time to do it's to put up signs memorializing dead animals. They'll get to yours after they put up the sign on Portola Parkway for all the roadkill raccoons. Indiana is even sending out a crew to pitch in after they put up tiny crosses and flower wreaths at the site of every deer road kill in the state.

Kourda's letter said the sign would remind truck drivers that fish value their lives and feel pain.

I guess the sign will help them remember to not crash their trucks, but I'm still planning on eating the fish, so it doesn't really matter what the drivers know about the fish. Also, the ratio of truck drivers who transport fish to the drivers who transport everything else is pretty low, and makes me think this is going to be a sign with a small reach and low ROI.

But Kourda and PETA seem to be unencumbered by things like common sense. She continued in her letter:

"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."

If these fish are so damn smart, why didn't they just drive themselves to the market? I mean, how smart can they really be if they have to hitch a ride to their own market. Or why didn't they just go all A-Team and escape from captivity in the first place?

Now that I think about it, it would be pretty cool to see a little B.A. Baracus fish beating up cats, while a cigar-puffing Hannibal fish fires a homemade machine gun he made with an oxygen tank and truck rivets.

Still, it's California, and I'm sure this is not the weirdest piece of mail the city has ever dealt with. It's probably not the weirdest mail they got that day. Even so, every letter writer has to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter how looney they appear to be.

Craig Reem, the public affairs director for the city of Irvine, told the Los Angeles Times he was not familiar with the city's procedure for dealing with a request like Kourda's.

I am. Throw it in the trash.

Wait, wait. I'm sorry. I was a little hasty there.

I meant, recycle it.

But Irvine made their decision, presumably after they stopped laughing and dried their eyes. Reem said, "I do think it's fair to say we have no plans to erect a memorial."

No matter. PETA spokeswoman Asheley Byrne has said they will ask Irvine again.

It will probably take a while though, because it takes a long time to gather that much dryer lint for another piece of paper.

This isn't the first time PETA has asked cities to set aside funds used for repairing their roads, caring for the poor, and providing fire and police services to their citizens. According to an Associated Press story, Byrne says they have tried to honor pigs killed in Virginia, and cows killed in crashes in Illinois, Kansas, and Manitoba.

The fact that they're a political laughing stock does not deter them, and they will continue to ask for memorial signs to be placed at animal accident sites.

I've got an idea for their next one: "All You Can Eat."



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