L214 launches Burger King ‘of cruelty’ campaign in France

A chicken sitting at a crowded farm with very little feather left
Chicken at a farm in Pihem, Pas-de-Calais, France, photo: L214

French animal welfare activists started a two-day campaign called “The King of Cruelty” against Burger King on Friday to protest the fast-food company’s failure to safeguard chicken welfare.  

Protesters are expected to gather outside Burger King’s Paris headquarters and in front of the company’s restaurants throughout France.   

The protests launched by animal rights organization L214 are aimed at highlighting Burger King’s failure to sign up for the European Chicken Commitment, a set of welfare standards developed by 25 animal welfare organizations.

In a statement, L214 said that Burger King had instead signed up for a less demanding animal welfare initiative called Nature d’Éleveurs en Terres de France [Breeders of Nature on French Lands]. 

Burger King says on its French website that chicken products carrying the Nature d’Éleveurs en Terre de France are from “chickens born and raised in France with a focus on environmental progress and animal welfare.” 

But L214 calls Burger King’s statement on animal welfare a form of “welfare-washing” where companies spread false information to market meat.

L214 said that although the Nature d’Éleveurs stamp does guarantee “the presence of natural light, perches and pecking blocks”, it ignores other critical chicken welfare needs, like reducing the number of chickens in a space, banning the practice of hooking live chickens upside down by their feet before slaughter and ending the use of fast-growing chicken breeds.

The animal rights organization praised other fast-food companies like KFC and Subway for signing up for the European Chicken Commitment.   

L214 called Burger King “The King of Cruelty” because it “continues to source [meat] from the worst intensive chicken farms.” They also released a satirical King of Cruelty video as part of its protest campaign. 

Brigitte Gothière, L214 co-founder, said the lack of commitment by Burger King, even as it “tries to give itself a more modern and qualitative image than its competitors”, is “unjustifiable.”

“Burger King France does not wish to comment on the L-214 campaign,” a spokesperson for the company told The Animal Reader by mail. 

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