Fast food behemoth Burger King recently announced that it is modifying the diet of some of the cows it raises to make burgers in order to help reduce global warming. The company issued a statement proudly announcing that, by adding 100 grams of dried lemongrass leaves to the bovine’s daily feed, a reduction of up to 33% in methane emissions was achieved during the last three to four months of the cows’ lives. It touted the fact that it had worked with researchers from universities in Mexico and California in creating the new cattle menu and noted, “The good news is that this reduction was powered by a natural plant that grows from Mexico to India.”
Burger King further enhanced its virtue-signaling by proclaiming that it is offering its secret “Cows Menu Formula” free—absolutely free-- to every beef and cattle producer in the world. The statement read: "Burger King recognizes that global beef production and consumption have considerable climate impact. But we equally know that farmers and ranchers around the world care deeply for their land and their animals. By working together and getting the whole industry to adopt the open source formula, we can potentially reduce methane emissions.” The "reduced methane emissions beef" is set to be available for customers at a few select Burger King locations in Miami, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland beginning in mid-July. Nice try, but will it help? Apparently, what this country—and the planet—really needs are federally-mandated bovine emissions standards.
BK was so proud of its work to stymy climate change that it released a song about the breakthrough. It features children singing about its new initiative: "When cows fart and burp and splatter, well it ain't no laughing matter. They're releasing methane every time they do, and that methane from their rear goes up to the atmosphere and pollutes our planet warming me and you.” I smell a Grammy. Or maybe it’s a fanny.
According to the EPA, the agricultural sector of the economy is responsible for roughly 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and methane from livestock comprises about a quarter of the emissions from the sector. Therefore, and follow me closely here, the equation to determine the maximum potential percent reduction in greenhouse gases due to Burger King’s actions is: 33% (using BK’s most optimistic figure) X 9% X 25% X what percent of the Earth’s cows are Burger King’s X what percent of a cow’s life 3 or 4 months equals. So: 33% of 9% is 3%. 25% of 3% is .75 of one percent. The vast majority of the planet’s cows are not owned or controlled by BK, so let’s say 5% are, surely a vast overstatement. 5% of .75 of one percent is under four one-hundredths of one percent. Most cows are slaughtered between the ages of 15 and 18 months, so, taking the former figure, 3 to 4 months would equal about 25% of their lives. Ergo, 25% of four one-hundredths of one percent would yield a figure of one one-hundredth of one percent, a number so laughably low as to be insignificant, irrelevant and indicative of no possible effect on the Earth’s climate.
Burger King’s statement is itself so much flatulence, reverse bovine bloviation of the raunchiest kind, all fat and no beef. It is shameless virtue-signaling dressed up as concern for the planet.
You can put lipstick on a pig, as the saying goes, but it’s still a pig. Similarly, BK can attempt to dress up its cow’s farts, but its own emanations still smell like crap.
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