AN animal rights group has called for a memorial sign to be placed where more than 1,500 chickens died this morning after a lorry crash on the M62.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has said they hope the memorial will remind drivers chickens are ‘not just body parts to pick out of buckets’.

Around 6,000 birds were being transported on the lorry before it went into the verge side safety barrier around 4am between junction 11 at Birchwood and junction 12 at Eccles.

It is thought the majority of chickens died from the impact of the crash while others escaped and were hit by cars.

A PETA spokesman said: “I'm sorry to say that there is nothing to stop farmers transporting this number of birds in a lorry and the extraordinary trauma and cruelty of transport for chickens and other animals is another reason why so many people are going vegetarian or vegan.

“The vast majority of these bright, sensitive birds spend their lives in windowless sheds, where they are crammed together, unable to establish a pecking order or do anything natural and enjoyable.

“PETA will be asking to place a memorial sign for the chickens who died in the lorry crash near Warrington this morning.

“We hope our memorial will remind people that chickens are not just body parts to pick out of buckets but individuals with feelings who, like us, don't want to die in an upturned lorry or at an abattoir.

“Readers can save these animals from a life a pain and suffering by leaving them off their plates.”

The carriageway was completely closed until 10.40am causing traffic chaos with one lane still shut on the eastbound carriageway.

Hear Warrington Guardian reporter Hannah Bargery speaking to Radio 2's Jeremy Vine about the inident, below.