Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not that I ever eat at Burger King because I think it's disgusting, but I'm happy to hear it.

One reason I've been trying to cut down on my meat intake lately (and especially beef) is because of the recent report that farming cows was one of the biggest contributors to global warming. If I'm gonna bitch about it (and especially become murderously angry at my customers at work because of how many grocery bags they use), then I feel I should put my money where my mouth is, literally, and either no longer eat beef, or pay more attention to where the beef I eat comes from.

I've also decided in the last week to no longer eat pork, at all, unless I know absolutely where it comes from, and that the farm where it was raised treats them humanely. Pork production is one of the cruelest meat industries that exists.

So I was delighted when I read an article in the NYT this morning about Burger King creating new policies on where they get thier eggs and pork.

According to the article, In what animal welfare advocates are describing as a “historic advance,” Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, said yesterday that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates.

The goal for the next few months, Burger King said is for 2 percent of its eggs to be “cage free,” and for 10 percent of its pork to come from farms that allow sows to move around inside pens, rather than being confined to crates. The company said those percentages would rise as more farmers shift to these methods and more competitively priced supplies become available.

Temple Grandin, the autistic animal-rights activist who once built a "hug machine" to satisfy emotional needs, since she couldn't stand to be touched by humans, and who has done historic work with McDonalds and Whole Foods, said Smithfield’s decision to abandon crates for pregnant sows had roiled the pork industry. That decision was brought about in part by questions from big customers like McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, about its confinement practices.

“When the big boys move, it makes the entire industry move,” said Ms. Grandin, who serves on the animal welfare task forces for several food companies, including McDonald’s and Burger King.

It's a small step, but I'm glad to see it happen.


Mandy said...

My dad knows Temple Grandin and is a big fan of hers. I'm not sure where he met her, but he was able pursuade her to waive her conference speaker's fee to come talk to one of his grazing groups. I guess she usually doesn't speak for free, but Dad charmed her. He says she's one of the smartest people he's met, and because of her understanding of autism, she's great with working with animals.

Have you ever read any of her books? Dad is reading one right now about animal behavior called "Animals in Translation." He and I talked about how you did animal therapy with austistic kids in Mexico, and he suggested that you should read some of her books.

The Fire Next Time said...

whoa! The fact that somehow the stars have aligned so that me and your dad totally admire one of the same people is too much to handle. :)

That's awesome, though. I have "Animals in Translation" and started reading it right before last semester started, but never finished it. After I'm done with the current book I'm reading, I'm gonna go at it again.

Tell your dad hi. And that I love Temple Grandin.