You got that headline right. Burger King, the Miami-based fast-food giant, recently announced it now serves what sounds like a gourmet dish for $4. In the corporate speak of John Schaufelberger, BK senior vice president of global product marketing and innovation: "By adding a new premium ciabatta bun made with whole grains to this popular sandwich, I'm confident that our guests will appreciate that this product is a great addition to a nutritionally balanced lifestyle, without compromising on taste."
And the thing — minus French fries, of course — has only 470 calories.
Now, I always thought Burger King was about the worst killer of poor farm fowl — and that all of this healthy foodstuff was a bunch of hooey.
Then I read the agreement the company reached with the Humane Society in 2007. It includes the following: Two percent of eggs from chickens not confined to cages, 20 percent of pork from pigs that are allowed to run around, and a preference for controlled-atmosphere killing. "They do something to remove the oxygen from the air so [the chickens] are unconscious for slaughter," said a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Indeed, when I asked PETA, which has been buying stock in companies that mistreat animals, what the group thinks of Burger King, they issued the following statement:
"We no longer own stock in Burger King because we have a working relationship with the company and they continue to improve their animal welfare standards.
"Burger King currently purchases some pork from suppliers that do not use cruel gestation crates — metal enclosures that confine mother pigs and are so restrictive that the animals cannot even stretch a limb or take a step. They also purchase some cage-free eggs and have a purchasing preference for chicken from suppliers that use 'controlled-atmosphere killing' (CAK), the least cruel method of chicken slaughter in existence."