|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
People for Ethical Treatment of Some Animals
"I bit into it, and it was delicious. The burger had great texture and flavor. Everything tasted fresh." Eric Marcus, author of VEGAN: The New Ethics of Eating Click on the website for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and up pops one of those annoying pop-up ads. I hate pop-up ads, but this one gets waaaaay under my skin: "Try The BK Veggie - New at Burger King" I came, I saw, I clicked... and now I'm sore. PETA wants you to visit and support BK. PETA is urging activists to "put down their protest signs and put on their bibs." I did just that this past weekend, when attending an exposition in Hartford, Connecticut, where I sold out my entire stock of SoyToy soymilk makers. I stayed in the Red Roof Inn, which shared a parking lot with the local Burger King. Not exactly a natural combo, me and Burger King, but I set aside my preconceived notion of breaking bread with the enemy. Jennifer (my seventeen-year- old daughter) was helping me with the show. We had passed a truck loaded with live pigs on I-95, and Jen was ready, willing, and ably motivated to explore a non-animal meal. We approached the customerless counter at 3 PM at the same time that the manager approached the register. I requested "One veggie burger." They had to make it special for Jen. $1.99 plus 12 cents tax. I took advantage of a lull in the usual rush, and "made nice" with the manager. I asked if the veggie burger had a special sauce. He replied, "Yes, it does, a vegetarian mayonnaise." I asked for an ingredient list, which he did not have, but he did tear a piece of corrugated from the original box which held 8 2-pound pouches of Burger King's "special veggie sauce." Manufactured by Cargill, the special sauce contains: Water, soybean oil, corn syrup, egg whites, distilled vinegar, Modified food starch, salt, sugar, spice, xanthan gum, mustard Flour, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as preservatives, Lemon juice, polysorbate 60, calcium disodium EDTA to Protect flavor, oleoresin paprika, sodium citrate, annatto color, mono & diglycerides. Egg whites? While we may not know the answers to why the chicken crossed the road, or which came first, the chicken or the egg, we do know the answer to the question: "Which part of the egg becomes the chicken, the white or the yolk?" The answer, or course, is the white. Yolk means food, and provides nutrients for a chicken which grows within a shell. Eat egg whites, and you are eating a developing chicken embryo. Most people do so without a second thought, but vegetarians are not "most people." If vegetarians are told that they are eating a vegetarian burger, they do not expect to devour the fetus of a potential living creature. PETA respectfully asks you to write or call Burger King's CEO, John Dasburg. They offer his address and phone number: "Please write or call Burger King's CEO to thank him for the introduction of the veggie burger at his restaurants nationwide: John Dasburg, CEO Burger King Corporation 5505 Blue Lagoon Dr Miami, FL 33126 Tel.: 305-378-3000" I took PETA up on their invitation, and called Mr. Dasburg on Monday, November 4th at 10:00 AM. His personal assistant (Carol) told me that Mr. Dasburg was "out of the office today," and I explained my concern. Her response: "We've never represented that our burger is a vegetarian burger. It's a veggie burger." I told her that her comment was deceptive. While I might not litigate, others may very well decide to do so. I do not like being deceived by companies with clever marketing campaigns. I like even less being deceived by PETA. Eating sesame-seed, dairy-based burger buns is a betrayal to cows, whose lives and deaths represent the least compassionate of any farmed animal. I urge you to contact PETA's founder and executive director, Ingrid Newkirk. Eating dead chicken embryos in a veggie burger is a deception. Ingrid Newkirk began her activism by participating in courageous acts of animal rescue. The Ingrid Newkirk who inspired me to become an animal advocate once walked down a very narrow path, and all of her actions were entirely consistant and heroic. Supporting a company that makes a not-so-veggie burger is a betrayal to egg-laying chickens who live a life of painful confinement. See: http://www.UPC-online.org Help Ingrid Newkirk and PETA to see that supporting Burger King's un-veggie burger is helping to defeat the spirit of the animal rights movement. In doing so, we betray both the animals and ourselves. Ingrid Newkirk: firstname.lastname@example.org (she will get your email) 501 Front Street Norfolk, VA 23510 757-622-7382 Ask Ingrid to post this on PETA's website: If you order Burger King's veggie burger, do so without the "special sauce." I have trouble entering Burger King. I smell the burning grilled flesh, and I think of screaming animals being slaughtered. I smell their burning skin and hair. The odor is offensive to me. I am uncomfortable entering such establishments. Many vegetarians go back to eating meat, and such compassionate food choices might act to get their feet into the door. I spoke with Bruce Friedrich of PETA, who loves the idea of Burger King's compassionate choice. I see his point, of course, but wish that people would support vegetrian restaurants or health food stores with their dollars rather than contribute to the bottom line of a fast food franchise that will always promote dead animal parts as their primary food fare. Bruce told me that six thousand Burger King franchises presently offer veggie burgers. If each franchise sells ten quarter-pounder veggie burgers each day, we save a herd of cows which would otherwise have been eaten. Perhaps that's true, but the one vegetarian making his or her statement in a carload of office workers would do better by diverting everybody to a different restaurant serving alternative non-meat food choices. Bruce explained that PETA advises its readers: "You can ask servers to hold the mayo..." However, PETA does so only after writing: "It contains 330 calories and 10 grams of fat, including 2 grams of saturated fat." PETA does NOT explain that the "special sauce" is not vegan. They have an obligation to spell this out, right up front, not buried deep within their article of support. Keep your enemy close, of course, and break bread with him too, but that does not mean eating foods containing dead animals.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (email@example.com)
Dairy Education Board
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