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Have it Your Way

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Have it Your Way

From James McWilliams
April 2013

James McWilliams Burger King HSUS Henry Spira 

There are daily moments in this line of work when you think to yourself, “[insert preferred expletive.]” Mine came a few minutes ago, when in the course of preparing yet another blog on fish (to, you know, complete the weekly trilogy) I was sent a press release by the HSUS. Upon skimming the piece, two thoughts immediately came to mind: a) this is an Onion article; or b) it’s April 1. I’m not kidding. Realizing that neither were the case, I then uttered my own preferred expletive (starts with a “b” and comes from the backside of a cow).

It’s still ringing in my ears as I type. (The other noise, I think, was, Henry Spira spinning in his grave.) Folks, give me another earful on this one and I’ll send it to the top with my own cool-headed but firm commentary. I’m all for encouraging progress, but do we really have to honor incremental steps with awards while never, ever mentioning the end goal of the all-too-baby steps?

THE RELEASE:

(April 24, 2013) The Humane Society of the United States has given Burger King Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: BKW) – the nation’s second-largest fast food hamburger chain – its Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Award for the company’s work to end the extreme confinement of farm animals in small crates and cages.

In 2012, Burger King Worldwide, Inc. announced that it would work to eliminate gestation crates from its pork supply chain. BKW also became the first major restaurant chain to announce a timeline—five years—for eliminating barren battery cages from its egg supply chain and opting to switch entirely to cage-free eggs.

Matt Prescott, food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “For more than a decade, Burger King has been a leader in improving farm animal welfare by working to eliminate some of the worst factory farming practices from its supply chain. We welcome the progress that Burger King has made and hope more major food companies follow its lead.”

Diego Beamonte, VP of Global Quality, Burger King Worldwide, Inc. said: “The Company takes the issue of animal welfare very seriously. It’s an important issue to us and to our guests and we’re proud to receive this honor from the HSUS. We remain actively engaged with the HSUS as we work to maintain our own animal wellbeing guidelines and help to drive change in the industry.”

The Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Awards acknowledge corporations, individual businesspeople, and other innovators and entrepreneurs for their contributions to the advancement of animal welfare, and to inspire others to include humane concern for animals as a core aspect of corporate social responsibility. The Awards recognize the critical role that the marketplace plays in addressing animal issues and reinforce The HSUS’ positive commitment to the integration of humane principles within business and industry. The Awards are given in memory of Henry Spira (1927-1998), the pioneering animal advocate whose campaign strategies and tactics succeeded in persuading many major corporations to join with animal protectionists in pursuit of common interests.