B.K.'s fart ad full of hot air

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling - 07/30/2020

To the editor,

Are you as tired of hypocritical companies who make millions off a product and then slam the very people who produce that commodity as I am? They butcher the cash cow and happily serve it up on a bun with a side of fries, all the while denouncing the very ranchers responsible for raising their beef.

Yes, I am talking about fast food joints –specifically Burger King and its new ad on cow farts. This marketing ploy will undoubtedly alienate a number of consumers, but will it attract more than are lost? In rural areas, probably not.

Burger King’s new marketing scheme blames cow farts for climate change, when in fact the UNFAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) states that less than 6 percent of global GHG emissions come from beef cattle. Of that, the U.S. is responsible for less than 0.5 percent, and roughly 5 percent of those gases come from cow farts. From those numbers, cow farts from American rancher-produced cattle contribute 0.025 percent of global emissions – seems like quite a stretch to pin global climate change on bovine flatulence.

But that is not really the point of the ad, is it? Such tactics are intended to play on your emotions and convince you that they are looking out for your best interests – when in fact the intention is to keep you from visiting the drive-through down the street rather than their own. 

If the idea that Burger King is seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions seems a little hollow, their claims about caring for consumer health are almost laughable. Burger King’s website claims 100 percent of their meat is free from artificial colors and flavors, yet the ingredients of their so-called “healthy” Impossible Burger are water, textured wheat protein, potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil, natural flavors, leghemoglobin, yeast extract, salt, konjac gum, xanthan gum, soy protein isolate and a number of vitamins. Sounds all-natural to me.

Emily Gelsomin, with Harvard Health Publishing, says, “Since diets higher in saturated fat are associated with increased rates of both heart disease and premature death, (plant-based burgers) may not be the type to opt for if your ambitions are purely health-related. They are also a significant source of sodium, particularly for those on salt-restricted diets.” 

Does anyone really believe they care? If the environment and consumer health were important to Burger King, it stands to reason they would reflect that in their business model and their menu. Why the big public showing, the moralizing, the blame-shifting?

If, as C.S. Lewis once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching,” then one’s actions outside of the spotlight define them. Highlighting their conscientiousness in this new ad appears to be nothing more than another publicity stunt with misinformation to garner attention.

Well, they got my attention, and I won’t be back.

Why have I chosen this hill to die on? I am tired of the misinformation spread against family agriculture. Someone needs to set the record straight and if not me, then who?

I don’t patronize businesses that I don’t trust, and I will not support those that continue to attack the families who produce the food, fiber and energy this country depends on.