Burger King To Go Cage-Free?

If you don’t like thinking about the hens who produced the egg on your BK Breakfast thingy, and the fact that they are confined to little dingy cages wile you eat their unborn… We have good news for you. And the hens. Burger King has revised its policy and will now begin buying more food from humane suppliers. From The New York Times:

Animal rights advocates praised Burger King for its new commitment to begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that do not keep their animals in cages or crates.

”We certainly hope that people will order the BK Veggie Burger when they go into Burger King,” said Matt Prescott, spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. ”But the fact that Burger King has made positive changes for some of the animals killed for its restaurants will send a ripple effect through the fast food industry and show other companies that animal welfare cannot be ignored.”

PETA has been critical of the fast food giant in the past

Burger King will double the percentage of cage-free pork it buys by the end of 2007, as well as doubling its percentage of cage-free eggs. Burger King will also “look favorably” on producers who use humane methods when making their purchasing decisions. Mmm, anyone want to share their croissanwich?—MEGHANN MARCO

Burger King Pledges Cage – Free Food [NYT]
(Photot: MortonFox)

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  1. govkid201 says:

    so how many average people actually care about animal welfare? is it really that many people? most people i know could care less (myself included).

  2. OnceWasCool says:

    Yeah, better for the chickens to eat each other crap, than to eat food that is healthy for them.

    This PC stuff just makes me sick. Back to Hardee’s I go!

  3. FLConsumer says:

    In the case of the Double Croissant Sandwich (in the picture), forget the well-being of the chickens, think about yourself first!

    DOUBLE CROISSAN’WICHâ„¢ w/ Sausage, Egg, & Cheese
    Calories: 680kCal (34% of recommended daily allowance)

    Fat: 51g (80% of daily allowance)
    Saturated: 18g (90% of daily allowance)
    Trans fat: 3g (trans fats don’t happen naturally, folks…your body doesn’t know how to properly handle them either)

    Cholesterol: 220mg (67% of daily allowance)
    Sodium: 1600mg (67% of daily allowance)

  4. mac-phisto says:

    i remember all the hippies in college distributing “murder king” stickers. heheh. always thought that was funny.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    @mac-phisto: Were these the same people wearing the leather birkenstocks by chance?

  6. gorckat says:

    In the time it takes to detour to and wait through a fast food drive-thru on my way to work, I can whip up a healtier, cheaper and tastier sandwich in my own kitchen.

    And it won’t feel like I ate a brick all day long, either.

  7. faust1200 says:

    Finally we can get back to the more wholesome times when herds of wild chickens thundered through the countryside.

  8. FLConsumer says:

    Is it me or are the “fast food” lines getting slower & slower? The longest I’ve waited was 35 minutes in a drive-thru. I would have left, wanted to leave, but with the way it was designed, there was no way to escape the line.

  9. Nicholai says:

    @mac-phisto:
    man, I want one of those….. Oh, and I saw that picture when I was eating breakfast.

  10. TinaB says:

    Man I love me some crossainwiches. And (g’head, call me a animal lovin’ hippie) I also love me some animal rights. I won’t go turning this into some huge argument, but if we’re going to kill them and eat them, we might as well be somewhat nice to them before we do so.

  11. wwwhitney says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this. I think it’s the natural order of things for humans to eat animals (though I don’t myself), but I think it’s perverse the way animals are treated. I applaud Burger King for taking this first small step. Hopefully this will put pressure on other fast food restaurants and ultimately will affect the supply of American meat and poultry products. Though I oftentimes cringe at having to spend twice as much money to buy cage free eggs at the grocery store, I do so with the hope that increased demand for animal friendly products will eventually change the American farming industry. So kudos to Burger King for sharing this goal (even though I’m sure whoever’s behind this is doing it for PR purposes only).

  12. JDAC says:

    I don’t know how accurate this is as I only caught it on one of those top ’50 reasons why you shouldn’t eat anything’ TV shows, but apparently, there’s more risk for an egg containing some funky virus if the chicken roams free.

    Seems that being able to eat more increases the chickens risk of catching something nasty.

    Like I said, don’t know the accuracy, and I can’t say I really care, just putting it out there.

  13. whysteriastar says:

    I’m a heck of a lot more likely to eat at a Burger King now that I know that. I think it’s really horrible the way animals are treated on many factory farms. I completely support this decision, I don’t eat much fast food, but if I do, from now on, it’s Bk all the way…besides, they’re the only one that doesn’t make me feel sick when I eat there anyway.

  14. MattyMatt says:

    “Look favorably”? Is that PR-speak for “do nothing at all”?

  15. Helvetian says:

    It’s great that they are doing this. Consumers should care. Chickens have feelings like any pet does, and often are caged with no room to turn around or spread their wings. Then brutally slaughtered after a life of misery and pain so you can eat a McChicken.

  16. PKnel says:

    I used to work at a company where we would put the chickens in and take them out of the barns. They stuff around six chickens into each really small cage. Usually there are tens of thousands of chickens in each barn. It made me think twice about eggs at the grocery store. That is not the best job for a person becuase you get covered in chicken manure and the barns are really hot and dusty. If you don’t feel guilty becuase of how they treat the animals it’s at least worth consider how the conditions are for the workers.

  17. Hoss says:

    The article says they have begun buying 2% of eggs from cageless environments. I’m not hearing a wave of applause from the hen house.

  18. Carson Daly says:

    As a vegetarian, I feel my opinion is needed here.

    Burger King is at least making an effort (compared to some other burger chains). I can’t even have the orange juice at McDonalds because they add beef extract to it to keep it fresh.

    Yeah, the animals are still dead. But at least BK is supporting their “right” to a somewhat painless quickie life.

  19. JDAC says:

    @Wendy Wayrad: Beef extract in orange juice? I’d heard about the fries, but I can’t find anything about adding the beefy goodness to OJ.

  20. lpranal says:

    wile [sic] you eat their unborn…

    While I don’t think cramping chickens in cages is nice, and it was a strikingly worded statement, I don’t think something that has no potential to be born (i.e. commercial eggs, silly putty eggs, etc.) can be called “unborn”. It’s like calling someone a murderer for aborting a muppet babyâ„¢

  21. kimsama says:

    I’m also cautiously optimistic. I only buy cage-free eggs myself, because I’m scared shitless of all the antibiotics they have to give the caged hens. I don’t want that ending up in my food chain.

  22. Carson Daly says:

    @JDAC:

    I don’t want the McDonald’s legal department riding my ass… that was a joke!

  23. royal72 says:

    “Burger King also said it will start getting 2 percent of its eggs from hens that are not confined to small cages. That percentage should more than double by the end of 2007.”

    that’s hysterical. don’t they use fake eggs for 99.99% of their breakfast menu?

  24. JDAC says:

    @Wendy Wayrad: Ah dammit, I knew I’d left my humor switch in the Off position!

  25. vanilla-fro says:

    @ kimsama: Waht makes you think they don’t put the antibiotics in the cage free birds and their eggs?
    I’m afraid they might not give the damn things antibiotics. I don’t want the hormones or any of that stuff, but hell yeah I want them disease free.

  26. virgilstar says:

    Regardless of the “name” they give the hens (battery, cage free etc), read the small print and often you’ll find that the USDA lets them get away with pretty much anything. A key example is “free range”, which means they must have access to the outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day. So, you’re a chicken, in a big barn running around pecking with 10,000 other chickens, and the farmer comes along and opens a small hatch for you to escape. Do you immediately run away from all your friends? No, because chickens are pack animals. They dont’ feel secure outside (with all that unfamiliar farm machinery plus no food and a bunch of animal crap on the ground). So, they just stay inside anyways, but the farmer gets to label his eggs “free range” and charge more for them. If anyone is to blame for this, its the USDA, which has consistently bent over backwards to please large agribusiness like Tyson, ADM et al.

    If you really give a crap about animal welfare, you shouldn’t be setting foot inside a BK, let alone actually buying any food there. This is just green-washing aimed at the people too stupid to know better.

  27. frowelishnu says:

    @vanilla-fro: The problem with all the antibiotics is that they become less effective with overuse. That’s why penicillin isn’t used widely anymore, even amoxycillin is on the way out.
    I don’t want my breakfast contributing to the next super-bug being resistant to existing medicines. The worst part is even if I’m not eating all the antibiotics, the rest of the population are so we all all at risk.

  28. synergy says:

    Unless you’re in the habit of eating raw eggs, bacteria killed by the antibiotics I THINK shouldn’t effect you. It’ll only effect your wallet in that more chickens will die and you’ll have to pay more for the eggs they do get.

  29. adamondi says:

    @lpranal: lpranal, you beat me to it. But since no one but you and I have seen the problem with the “eat their unborn” statement in the original post, I will post what I was going to say anyway:

    Saying that an unfertilized chicken egg is an “unborn chicken” is incorrect. There is no more potential for that unfertilized egg to become a baby chicken than for the egg released by the ovary of a nun who strictly follows her vows of abstinence to become a human baby. If the eggs were not collected and sold, they would simply be trampled and destroyed by the hens anyway, since it would be good for nothing to them. So equating the eating of chicken eggs to the eating of an unborn chicken is illogical and false.

  30. kerry says:

    @lpranal: Food eggs are no different than the unfertilized ova that fertile women pass every month, there are folks out there who think that it’s essentially abortion for a woman to pass an unfertilized egg, so, yeah. Some people would consider that unfertilized egg you’re eating “unborn,” if they applied the same logic to chickens as they do to humans.

  31. lpranal says:

    I was hoping to steer clear of that whole argument by virtue of the fact that nobody (to my knowledge) eats human eggs, but alas I don’t think it was enough.

    I guess I’m just insensitive, and if I had an immaculately conceived chicken baby of my own maybe I’d understand better. Shame on me

  32. jgodsey says:

    there are EGGS in burger king food?

  33. mon0zuki says:

    Don’t know whether it’s amusing or saddening that some people here couldn’t care about the chickens… Hahaha…

    Note that I’m by no means a vegan or vegetarian. I eat lots of meat. I just like my animal products coming from happy animals – and sanitary ones… A lot of the time animals that are treated badly are treated in ways that don’t make the food great. Like cows standing in their own crap, for example – ick. Generally better for the consumer when these things happen – food’s more sanitary, usually (ESPECIALLY beef) – and it tastes better a lot of the time too. Compare regular meat to kosher – kosher tastes AMAZING. Grass-fed burgers are so much better than grain-fed too.

    Will say I have huge issues with PETA though.

  34. kryptik says:

    Just 2%? Wow, how impressive.
    McDonalds in the UK flaunts its free-range credentials on the side of its delivery trucks, and says on their website:

    …all of the eggs used in our breakfast menu and sauces are free range.

    [http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/pages/eatsmart/ourfood.html]
    Makes BK USA look a little slow on the uptake, though free range is really big over here, with several store’s now using only free range eggs in their own label products.
    Any move away from industrialised livestock production is a good thing though. I gave up eating meat [poultry & mammals] because I just didn’t fancy anything that had been through a modern abattoir.