Proposed memorial for dead fish in Irvine. (PETA )
On behalf of the animal rights group PETA, an Irvine woman is asking the city to erect a memorial at the street corner where 1,600 pounds of fish died this month when a container truck crashed into two other vehicles.
Dina Kourda, a volunteer with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote to the Irvine Public Works Department to request that a sign be placed at Walnut and Yale avenues to honor the lives of the fish — believed to be saltwater bass — lost in the accident.
The fish had been stored in large tanks that cracked open as a result of the Oct. 11 accident. When firefighters opened the back of the truck, some fish flopped out, and others had already died. None of the people in the accident were seriously injured.
"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, in order to remind drivers that all animals — whether they're humans, basset hounds or bass — value their lives and feel pain," Kourda wrote.
PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne said the organization had called for memorials for other types of animals such as cows and pigs, but this was the first time the group has requested a fish remembrance.
She said it's appropriate: "Hundreds of fish perished in this accident, suffocating slowly on the roadway."
In her letter, Kourda said the sign "would also remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals who are hauled to their deaths every day."
She wrote that the sign should be placed at the edge of the right-of-way, at a spot far from the road, so it wouldn't interfere with traffic.
City spokesman Craig Reem said he was not familiar with Irvine's procedure for dealing with such a request.
"I do think it's fair to say we have no plans to erect a memorial," he said.