Oildale, Calif. — On the heels of news that an Oildale man pleaded no contest to killing, cooking, and eating cats and was sentenced to 30 days in jail (with credit for 30 days), probation and community service, PETA is negotiating with outdoor advertisers to place a billboard in Kern County that’s certain to provide residents with food for thought. The billboardshows a chicken with a cat’s head and reads, “If You Wouldn’t Eat Your Cat, Please Don’t Eat Chicken. Go Vegan.” The arrest followed calls from neighbors who reportedly heard cats screaming inside Jason Louis Wilmert’s house. One neighbor reported smelling what could have been a cat’s flesh cooking. PETA wants to drive home the point that both cats and chickens are intelligent, sensitive animals with a strong will to live and that neither belongs on anyone’s plate.

“If chicken industry executives treated cats or dogs the way they treat chickens, they, too, would be sitting in jail,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA asks caring people to realize that the level of abuse against these small and intelligent animals makes chicken parts too tough to swallow.”

Chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals with complex social structures, adept communication skills, and distinct personalities. They can complete complex mental tasks, learn from watching each other, demonstrate self-control, and worry about the future, and they even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation. On factory farms, chickens are crammed by the tens of thousands into filthy sheds and bred to grow such unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under the weight. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are cut while they are still conscious, and millions of conscious birds are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.