Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The King's Busting Out of Cages

The King's Busting Out of Cages

In the "take what I can get" news the other day, it seems that apparently Burger King will go cage-free eggs and pork by 2017.. Which is pretty surprising of a move.
Burger King Corp.promised Wednesday to switch to only cage-free eggs and pork -- a day after the reemergence of mad-cow disease focused national scrutiny even more on Americans’ food sources.

The fast food giant, one of the largest in the world, said it would phase out cages for its chickens and gestation crates for breeding pigs by 2017 – making its pledge among the most sweeping of many such vows made recently by competitors such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

Changes in animal welfare practices have swept the food service and supply industries in recent months, as undercover investigations by animal rights activists and concessions from major companies created a domino effect.

Burger King said its decision, which also includes provisions to only buy pork from suppliers who also plan to phase out gestation crates, was backed by the Humane Society of the United States. The chain, which operates thousands of restaurants, said it was among the first quick-serve restaurants to implement humane sourcing policies, with efforts to incorporate cage-free eggs and pork starting in 2007.

McDonald’s Corp. said in February that it would begin to weed gestation crates – cramped stalls used to house pregnant sows – out of its system. Suppliers such as Cargill, Hormel and Smithfield Farms have also started phase-outs of the containers.

States such as Florida and California have laws that prohibit the use of too-small crates for meat and egg-producing animals.

On Tuesday, many of the same animal rights groups that have agitated for changes in pig- and chicken-raising practices used the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a California cow as a platform to reiterate their stances.

“With their chronic lack of oversight, inadequate veterinary care for animals and routine overuse of antibiotics, America’s factory farms have become a breeding ground for disease and a serious public health menace,” said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals, in a statement.

California cows “are typically kept confined to hard, abrasive concrete or manure-laden dirt,” said PETA spokesman David Perle. “They commonly suffer from udder infections, painfully swollen knees, ulcers, hoof disorders such as food rot and abscesses that can result in lameness and premature death.”

Even though USDA officials and beef industry representatives have stressed that the human food chains are safe and not at risk, Runkle urged a vegetarian diet to help avoid “the many deadly threats posed by meat consumption.”

“After all, there is no such thing as mad tofu disease,” he said.
My first response to this was "Yeah, it seemed a little weird that they made you eat your food in those little cages." , but after my smart ass aspect to my personality faded I had to think that this actually sounds like a good thing. Maybe I'm just being naive, or maybe I'm just waiting for the "But....." to come into play, but this actually sounds like a company doing something positive.

I guess I can toss in a but in here, because I wouldn't be myself if I didn't do that anyway, the downside is that this doesn't stop a lot of the fucked up practices that still go on in terms of abusing the chickens, allowing diseases to fester, and still buying the product from locations that are exploited for worker's labor. This is a step forward, but like a lot of the green and ethics washing stuff, it becomes an easy way for corporations to say they are doing something while hiding their exploitative practices away from the common consumer.

Check out them cage free birds..

See, I got that out of the way. I couldn't have been positive for too long or you'd think that I was suddenly someone else. Besides, they talk about cows in the article but there's no mention of Burger King moving toward more "ethical" beef, which I'd imagine is what a hamburger joint sells the most of. So there you go, that's the huge F U in this whole news article. The slide of hand, if you will.

You think Burger King is getting ethical, but in reality it's just business per usual. At best this is a deflection of the issue by Burger King to get the consumers who are starting to think about animal welfare to not think about how their meat is produced.

What I love about this, is that it's impossible for any person to verify any of this. Just trust the big corporation and the King makes it your way, yo.

But hey, good luck trying to bring any of this to light. Agriculture is becoming cops now
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Angered by repeated releases of secretly filmed videos claiming to show the mistreatment of farm animals, Iowa's agriculture industry is pushing legislation that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to produce and distribute such images.
Monsanto already sues and succeeds against those making negative statements about their genetically-modified crops. However, I think this is the first criminal charges potentially assigned against such speech. So I dunno, I doubt it will become law.

But hey, now you can feel ethically cleansed whenever you go to Burger King, cause they let their chickens run free.. free as the sky above.

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