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Townships Regulating Roadside Memorials

(credit: David Buchan/Getty Images)

(credit: David Buchan/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Almost 700 crated turkeys were killed when the trailer hauling them on a Utah highway crashed through a guard rail and landed in a reservoir. An animal rights group wants to put up a roadside memorial that would read: In memory of the hundreds of terrified turkeys who died here in a truck crash. Try vegan.

It’s a perplexing memorial when one considers that the crated turkeys were likely on their way to the slaughterhouse before being accidentally killed in the truck. It’s wrong to find that funny, right? In any event, the Utah Department of Transportation has turned down the request, saying that roadside memorials are for people, not animals. Or animal rights activists who want people to try vegan.

But, even when created for people, roadside memorials present legal issues for townships which have begun to regulate them, for one thing because it uses public land for a private purpose – a shrine to a private citizen. And while not meant to disrespect others, these memorials often contain crosses or other religious symbols which are problematic if they’re erected on public land.

Finally, the roadside remembrances to those who have lost their lives in traffic actually distract drivers and can lead to other accidents which would be not just ironic but actually tragic.

Consider donating the money you’d have spent on the memorial to a charity that can prevent such accidents or feed the hungry or whatever cause is dear to your heart.

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