No Joke: PETA Will Cover $1,000 Reward for Missing Rooster Statue

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Osseo, Wis.

Today may be April 1, but it’s a serious offer: The giant rooster statue next to Osseo Family Restaurant has gone missing, so PETA sent a letter this morning to owner Artan Shabani proposing to pay the $1,000 reward that he has offered for the statue’s return. All Shabani would have to do is add the words “Try the Vegan Chicken!” to the bib on the statue and serve exactly that when the statue comes home to roost—and PETA would even arrange a taste test of the finest vegan chicken strips and sandwiches on the market for the restaurant owner’s consideration.

“Chickens love their families, dream when they sleep, feel pain and fear, and don’t belong on a restaurant menu any more than we do,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “An invitation on Osseo’s big rooster to eat vegan chicken would not only give diners some food for thought about who they put on their plates but also put the statue on the map.

As PETA reveals in its “Chicken in Reverse” video, the meat industry crams birds by the tens of thousands into filthy factory sheds and scalds many of them alive in defeathering tanks. Each person who goes vegan reduces their risk of suffering from health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and just might help prevent future epidemics and pandemics. SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19 all stemmed from confining and killing animals for food. PETA offers a free downloadable vegan starter kit to anyone interested in making the switch.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Shabani follows.

April 1, 2021

Artan Shabani

Osseo Family Restaurant

Dear Mr. Shabani:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including many across Wisconsin—in response to your offer of a reward for the return of a giant rooster statue. We have an offer that I hope will pique your interest: PETA will pay the full $1,000 reward if you’ll add the words “Try the Vegan Chicken!” to the statue’s bib and agree to serve only vegan chicken in the restaurant once the bird comes home to roost. Here’s why we’re making this offer:

We want everyone to consider who animals are, what makes them tick, and how they feel. Chickens are smart, sensitive animals who feel pain, empathy, and love; form complex social structures; and dream at night, as humans do. Studies show that they can anticipate future events, communicate with their chicks while they’re still inside the shell—so that they recognize their mother’s call when they hatch—and have distinct personalities. Even baby chicks can count and perform basic addition and subtraction.

Chickens raised for meat are treated cruelly. They’re confined to crowded, filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common. Then they’re violently crammed onto transport trucks for shipment to slaughterhouses, where they’re shackled and hung upside down, their throats are cut, and they’re immersed in scalding-hot feather-removal tanks. U.S. government inspection reports show that that often occurs while they’re still conscious.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans began in other animals. In addition to COVID-19, deadly outbreaks of avian flu, swine flu, mad cow disease, SARS, and other zoonotic diseases have resulted from using animals for food, and the next pandemic from such a source is not a matter of if but when.

Restaurants that offer vegan options are better poised to meet rising consumer demand for healthier, environmentally friendly, and cruelty-free options. Google data show that vegan eating is now twice as popular as it was five years ago, and in 2020, vegan meat alternatives spiked in popularity by 463% on the delivery platform Grubhub. That’s something worth squawking about! We’d be happy to offer samples of delicious vegan chicken strips and sandwiches for you to consider adding to your menu. Some like Gardein are available in local supermarkets. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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