‘Chicken Dance’ Mocks Real-Life Misery: Shake Shack NFL Promo Faces Backlash From PETA

For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

New York

It’s no joke: Shake Shack’s NFL season promotion, which uses the code “CHICKENDANCE,” has resulted in PETA sending an urgent letter to Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti urging him to end the promo, because the only “dance” chickens do is an agonizing death “dance” as they struggle to right themselves and escape the whirling blades of a slaughter line on which they hang upside down by their legs. PETA is also urging Shake Shack to introduce vegan chicken to its menu—a move that would benefit birds and help the restaurant chain keep up with a growing consumer trend.

“Slamming chickens’ legs into metal shackles is so petrifying and violent that the chickens struggle and ‘dance’ on the line, causing people who eat their wings and legs to often find evidence of broken bones and bruises,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Shake Shack to stop mocking the birds’ death ‘dance’ and start selling the vegan chicken that even more of today’s customers want.”

Chickens on a slaughter line. Credit: PETA

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a free vegan starter kit on its website. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Garutti follows.

November 16, 2023

Randy Garutti, CEO

Shake Shack

Dear Mr. Garutti:

Greetings from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). We appreciate that Shake Shack offers vegan options and collaborates with fabulous vegan restaurateurs like Pinky Cole. But we urgently request that you end the promotion code “CHICKENDANCE.”

Chickens are not commodities; they are feeling, intelligent beings. The use of this promotion code trivializes the harsh reality that these animals endure. Chickens who aren’t confined to factory farms live in complex social structures, recognize one another, form friendships, and experience rapid eye movement when they sleep—i.e., like you and me, they dream. Just like human mothers who talk to their babies in utero, hens begin to teach calls to their chicks before they hatch. They’re also fiercely protective of their young.

In the meat industry, after being raised in warehouse-like sheds, they’re grabbed by the legs and stuffed into transportation crates, which often breaks a wing or leg. At a slaughterhouse, chickens “dance” only as they struggle to escape from the slaughter line, when they’re slammed by their legs into metal shackles and suspended upside down on a conveyor that brings them to the horrors of whirling blades, electrified baths, and scalding-hot defeathering tanks.

The vegan food market is booming, and Shake Shack already offers several vegan options, proving that consumers can have delicious meals without the cruelty, cholesterol, and climate impact of animal-derived foods.

May we please hear from you that Shake Shack will end all promotions that make light of the suffering of chickens and introduce a vegan chicken sandwich that everyone can enjoy?


Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

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