American Farmers’ Beef with Burger King’s Flatulent Cow Ad: Business Casual

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, around 50% to 65% of all methane emissions come from human activities, including factory farming. So, in an effort to curtail the methane emissions caused by cattle flatulence by 33% per day, Burger King is adding 100 grams of lemongrass to improve its cows’ low-carb diet. Developed in collaboration with professors from the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico and University of California, Davis, Burger King’s new lemongrass-fed beef formula is purported to help cows release less methane during the digestion process. While the premise could help to curb a key contributor to climate change, a controversial YouTube Burger King ad, drawing millions of views and thousands of comments, has the U.S. beef farmers in a dither, swearing to cut ties with the chain, with leaders in the industry calling the marketing gambit both “condescending and hypocritical”. The ad, featuring a yodeling boy in a cowboy hat singing about cow farts, their methane release and impact on climate change, has even attracted criticism from scientists as well as from a Department of Animal Science professor at fellow collaborator UC Davis, as the burger chain’s ad focuses on cow flatulence instead of belching—the bigger problem—and promotes a study that is still ongoing.

On this snippet of Business Casual, Tyler Kern, Daniel Litwin and Taylor Bagley discuss not only how the ad portrays farmers, but how it seems to make light of both the scope of and solution to our planet’s climate issues. The Business Casual trio also break down different studies conducted over the years that point to the specific companies responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as studies that compare the emissions produced by different industry segments versus that of the Agriculture sector.

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