An animal rights group has called on Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow to file cruelty charges against a trucker involved in a wreck that killed at least two cows.
Truck driver Bradley Pate, 51, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and improper traffic lane usage in connection with the April 19 crash on Interstate 80 between Larkin Avenue and Houbolt Road.
Pate tested positive for amphetamines after the crash, according to an Illinois State Police report.
Those charges were less than sufficient for the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“If a human had been killed in this wreck, Pate would be facing up to 28 years in prison, and cows are individuals who feel pain and fear and value their lives just as much as we do,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement released by the organization.
“PETA wants him held accountable for recklessly endangering and killing sentient beings and encourages anyone disturbed by the thought of these brave animals suffering on the roadside or ending up under the slaughterhouse knife to go vegan,” Reiman said.
On Friday, PETA sent a letter from Senior Director Danielle Katz to Glasgow, requesting the state’s attorney “add cruelty-to-animal charges, as appropriate to the driving under the influence of drugs” charge Pate already faces.
While no humans were killed in the crash, Katz’s letter said, Pate’s “alleged actions did directly result in the prolonged and painful deaths of eight animals – sentient beings who are just as capable of feeling fear and pain as humans are.”
Four days after sending the letter, PETA still was waiting on a response from Glasgow’s office, said Marley Delgado, the organization’s campaign coordinator.
“We have not heard back from Mr. Glasgow’s office at this time,” Delgado said Tuesday.
Glasgow’s spokeswoman, Carole Cheney, likewise failed to respond to inquiries from the Herald-News. Glasgow himself also failed to respond to calls and messages for comment.
Pate, a resident of Waynesboro, Virginia, was driving a cattle hauler carrying 33 cows east on I-80 when he ran into the back of a disabled semitrailer stopped on the shoulder, police said.
Pate’s rig then slammed into a Honda coupe before ending up in the interstate median, police said.
Pate’s trailer was “torn open and approximately 16 cattle were thrown onto the interstate,” police said.
Two of the animals were injured and troopers killed them, police said.
Six more of the cows died, according to PETA.
Farmers on horseback rounded up the remaining loose cows, police said.
Pate was hospitalized, police said. The driver of the Honda, an 82-year-old from Chicago, also was taken to an area hospital, police said.
Pate remains free on his own recognizance. His arraignment was scheduled for May 25.
In addition to pushing for Glasgow to file animal cruelty charges against Pate, PETA plans to “pay tribute to the killed and wounded cows by erecting a sky-high message near the crash site proclaiming, ‘See the Individual. Go Vegan,’” according to the statement released by the organization.
PETA plans to put the “sky-high message” on a billboard, Delgado said.
“We are talking to a few different ad companies in the area to buy a billboard that says, ‘I’m me, not meat,’” she said.
In the statement, PETA said “there were at least 76 crashes or fires involving trucks carrying animals used for food last year alone.”
Delgado said such deaths are traumatic, even for animals bound for the horrors of the slaughterhouse.
“It’s so scary,” she said. “They don’t know what’s going on. They’ve probably never been out of the factory farm they were raised on and suddenly they’re flung out into the sunlight.”