If Burger King’s latest advertising scheme was meant to villainize cattle raisers and cows as well as shame beef eaters, they are on the road to success. In a commercial, which has been floating around social media since July 14, Burger King features yodeling kids, but the tune is all wrong. They had me at the yodeling, but they lost me and just about every other person involved in the beef industry, when they started in on cow farts. The children dressed in tacky “western” clothes sing a strange song about Burger King’s new burgers, made from cows that supposedly produce 33% less methane emissions. They claim that by adding 100 grams of lemongrass to cows’ diets, the cows will produce less flatulence, thereby solving all the world’s pollution problems. I call bull on that.
First off, it has been proven that methane from cattle are only a minuscule piece of overall greenhouse gas emissions. Sheesh, I thought we were done attacking ranchers and their cows over farts! I guess not. I would cite the pandemic as proof the problem is much more related to transportation than what comes out of both ends of a cow. According to a recent study published in the journal of Nature Climate Change, daily greenhouse gas emissions dropped 17% in early April with the shutdown of the country, which included reduction in driving, flying and industrial output. Carbon dioxide emissions haven’t been this low since 2006. One constant through the shutdown was that cows continued to fart and burp—no days off for them—and there were even more cows than usual on the Earth since the packing plants were backed up. So the question is, how can Burger King launch a new advertising campaign and still make cows out to be the primal destructors of our planet? Good question, I’d love to hear the king answer that quandary through his unsettling grin.
Secondly, I don’t believe Burger King did enough investigation prior to releasing this commercial, because the Environmental Protection Agency’s U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions along with the Market Intel report from the American Farm Bureau Federation have found that per-unit methane emissions from livestock have declined since 1990, even as food production has increased. Dairy emission have decreased by 25% and beef has been reduced by 8%. So while Burger King is trying to convince customers they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by feeding cows lemongrass, they are actually undermining the efforts cattlemen have put into reducing their carbon footprint over the last 30 years and misinforming consumers who just want to protect their planet.
Finally, Burger King may have really stepped in it with this commercial, because after it spread through social media, Ermias Kebreab, an associate dean at the University of California-Davis, who participated in one of the studies Burger King used for its campaign, stated that the Mexico reported a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, not the U.S. The way I see it, Burger King has some explaining to do.
I didn’t eat Burger King before, and I think it’s safe to say I won’t be becoming a customer any time soon; I’d trade some creepy king for a Braum’s dairy cow any day. The agriculture industry has been through the wringer with a pandemic that crashed our markets, slowed our economy and threatened our food supply chain—we don’t need a new battle with everyone’s least favorite fast food restaurant.
If you want to watch the ridiculous commercial, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=x6xDv8RX87A&feature=emb_logo
Lacey Newlin can be reached at 620-227-1871 or firstname.lastname@example.org.