Target: Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Tiffani Nielson
Goal: Don’t encourage drivers to unnecessarily hit and kill animals on the highway.
A Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant reportedly became unhappy when surveillance showed drivers braking or swerving to avoid hitting a family of ducks trying to make their way across a road. The lieutenant was apparently unhappy enough to release a video and command to drivers telling them next time, don’t stop.
Patrol spokeswoman Lieutenant Tiffani Nielson allegedly said, “I watched that video and I cringed. People should not stop on the freeway for ducks.” She stated the same rule goes for deer or any other animal, even though hitting large animals like deer could easily be as fatal as stopping in the middle of a freeway. She even went so far to say that a driver who stopped for ducks “could face a criminal charge.”
However, “There are many situations where it is reasonable and advised to put on the brakes to avoid hitting an animal. This should almost always be possible if the driver is paying attention,” said Stephanie Bell, the Cruelty Casework Director of PETA.
It’s understandable not to stop in the middle of the freeway, but as animal rights groups have stated, it’s a natural instinct to slow or swerve when one sees a moving being in the middle of the road — and this can be done in a safe manner. How could anyone not swerve — provided the environment is safe — for a mother and her baby ducklings crossing the road? Most people, as the video proved, can’t help but try and avoid hitting them.
Telling drivers to simply keep driving and hit the ducks is unethical and shows a disturbing lack of regard for animal life. Lieutenant Nielson needs to realize that there’s a middle ground to this issue and that as Stephanie Bell from PETA pointed out, in most situations it’s completely possible to slow for crossing animals in a manner that is safe for all.
Please ask Lieutenant Nielson to understand other options besides just hitting anything and everything in the road, and to revise her statement to reflect that there are circumstances where one can safely brake to avoid hitting and killing an animal in the road.
Dear Lieutenant Nielson,
You released a statement telling motorists to just keep driving after surveillance footage showed many drivers yielding and swerving for a family of ducks crossing a highway. As the Cruelty Casework Director for PETA has stated, most of the time drivers can take safe measures to avoid hitting animals while also keeping the environment safe for all traffic nearby.
We feel that the command to simply keep driving no matter what is not necessary in every animal-crossing situation, and would like for you to avoid telling drivers to just hit animals on the road in every circumstance. Please show more regard for animal lives by considering the middle ground regarding this matter, and release a revised statement that it’s entirely possible to brake for animals — when the environment is safe — without putting yourself or other drivers at risk.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Minnesota Department of Transportation