Friends of Animals Attacks PETA Over Burger King Veggie Burger

Friends of Animals’ Priscilla Feral distributed a letter this week attacking People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for that group’s endorsement of Burger King’s Veggie Burger.

Following Burger King’s announcement that it would offer a vegetarian offering, a number of animal rights groups and activists have heralded it as a chance to promote vegetarianism, with Alex Hershaft going so far as to opine that if the BK Veggie Burger fails, “it will set us back substantially.”

Feral will have none of that.

Much as been said about supporting Burger King because they now offer a product erroneously dubbed the “BK Veggie Burger.”

The burger is cooked on the same grill as the meat, unless one knows to ask for a special order microwave-heated burger. The strict religious vegetarian will have to request special treatment; she must feel comfortable with microwaved food; and, of course, she will have to know to ask.

Even if all these factors are met, the vegan will have to bring her own bread: Burger King’s buns contain butter.

Butter comes from an industry which exploits the reproductive cycles of cows throughout their lives. An enterprise which directly results in the production of veal.

Feral goes on to attack PETA over its BK Veggie Art Contest (see which asks people under 18 to design ads for the new veggie burger and promises that, “Each month all summer — June, July, and August — PETA will treat five winners and 20 of their friends to a BK Veggie Burger Party.”

Feral complains that,

To enter the contest, you must be 18 or under. We find it incomprehensible that an animal protection group would emulate the tactics of major fast-food companies: persuading parents to frequent burger restaurants by enticing their children. The contest even gets children to act as little advertisers for Burger King, as they “design an eye-catching advertisement” for this multinational giant.

(With “multinational giant” meaning much the same thing for Feral that “Satan” does for a fire and brimstone preacher).

Citing the case of McDonald’s, which used a beef flavoring ingredient in its fries that many people thought were vegetarian, Feral accuses Burger King and PETA of engaging in the same sort of bait and switch and with the same possible legal consequences,

. . . We often believe that our government will protect the consumer from food fraud. But it took a lawsuit from distraught Hindus to get the attention of McDonald’s.

How much sadder if ethical and religious vegetarians have to sue animal protection groups for misleading the public about the ingredients in Burger King products.

Now if we could just get Feral to threaten a lawsuit against PETA for it lies and distortions about medical research, we would be all set.


The Burger King “Veggie Burger.” Priscilla Feral, E-Mail Communication, Friends of Animals, May 20, 2002.

Vegan Dreams vs. Burger King Reality

Burger King recently announced that it will offer a veggie burger at all of its 8,000+ outlets across the country. For animal rights activists, that is a double edged sword.

Alex Hershaft wrote an e-mail letter to an animal rights newsletter highlighting the possibilities and perils of Burger King’s decision. Of course Hershaft couldn’t just discuss the issue without first giving a rundown of what many in the animal rights movement really long for,

Once up on a time, in our wildest dreams, we may have picture victory as an array of slaughterhouses and fast food chains lying in smoldering ruins, or at the very least, undergoing bankruptcy proceedings . . .

Smoldering ruins? And people in the animal rights movement wonder why the press tends to depict them as a bunch of nutbags.

But, moving on, Hershaft argues that,

As a welcome reality check, Burger King, the evil transnational corporate giant, has handed us a beautiful present for this year’s Meatout observance: a real veggie burger. Not just in a dozen avant-garde outlets in Greenwich Village, but in all 8,300 outlets throughout America.

Not that this will make much of a difference to the true vegan fanatics, since as Hershaft notes the vegan patty will be grilled along side burgers, the mayonnaise Burger King uses is not vegan, and there is “butter flavor” in the bun (and, lets not forget, “Moreover, BK is still the evil transnational corporate giant.”)

But, still, here is big opportunity for the animal rights movement. Just get everyone in America to buy veggie burgers at Burger King rather than burgers, and save the lives of many farm animals. “One of the nicest things that we can do for these wretched animals,” Hershaft wrote, “is to promote this product to all our friends and supporters.”

This is especially important because, as Hershaft notes,

You can be sure that all the other fast food chains are waiting to see how this product does. If it succeeds, it will prevent the suffering and death of millions. But, if it fails, it will set us back substantially. We absolutely can not afford to let that happen.

So, allow me to go out on a limb here for a moment — this veggie burger is going to fail. In fact, I hope that Burger King at some point releases figures on just how many veggie burgers they sell, because I doubt Burger King’s target market overlaps very much with people who are vegetarians/vegans.

If Hershaft and others are counting on the success of Burger King’s veggie burger to save animals, they’re in for a rude awakening.


Dreams, Reality, and Burger King. Alex Hershaft, E-mail, April 17, 2002.

Friends of Animals Goes Ballistic

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, went ballistic over the past couple weeks releasing two open letters on a popular animal rights news list that ended up getting her banned temporarily from the list. Both letters featured Feral charging that other animal rights groups were not abolitionist enough for her taste.

On June 26, 2001, Feral and Great Ape Standing & Personhood co-founder Lee Hall unleashed an letter ripping into In Defense of Animals over a National Institutes of Health contract for taking care of chimpanzees. The IDA put out a press release saying they were disappointed that the NIH had awarded the contract to a company that breeds animals for medical research purposes.

Feral and Hall in turn attack IDA for its implicit concession that it is okay to keep some chimpanzees in captivity. For example, consider this paragraph from Feral and Hall,

Your Release quotes Representative James Greenwood’s statement that the NIH “already has more chimpanzees than necessary.” IDA’s use of this reason to oppose the contract ignores the reality that Chimpanzees should not be owned by exploiters — “necessary or not. The very fact that the law considers research on Chimpanzees “necessary” both justifies and codifies the human right to torture non-human great apes.

In a follow-up press release dated July 3, 2001, Friends of Animals slammed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals without naming the group specifically. According to FOA’s press release,

During the last several months, one group professing to advocate
animal rights activism — has been promoting McDonald’s. Now this organization is giving the nod to Burger King’s new endorsement of “humane standards” for animal slaughter [a clear reference to PETA]. Not surprisingly, another animal welfare association has jumped on board to laud the fast food establishment’s reform measures. Meanwhile, a coalition of groups is busy advocating a “reform” initiative in Florida to make the farming of pigs more “humane” before they are slaughtered.

Instead of using pressure tactics to force changes in the way animals are slaughtered, FOA is clear that abolition of meat eating is the only acceptable goal,

It is time for all of us who care about animals to accept one clear and simple fact. There is no such thing as humane animal agriculture. The life of a “farmed” animal is hell from the moment of birth to the moment of slaughter. The improvements that are being pushed by such welfare-oriented animal groups will do nothing to prevent animal suffering, or advance the goal of animal rights.

It is a very good day when PETA is attacked for being too soft on animal rights.


Open letter to In Defense of Animals. Priscilla Feral and Lee Hall, June 26, 2001.

Abolition, Not Reform. Priscilla Feral, Press Release, July 3, 2001.

PETA Claims It Is Distributing "Bloody Crown" at Burger King

During its campaign against McDonald’s, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals threatened to show up at McDonald’s restaurants and give children what it called “Unhappy Meals,” complete with plastic animals missing limbs and a cartoon of Ronald McDonald holding a bloody butcher knife. Now it is using the same tactic against Burger King, threatening to distribute a rather tasteless parody of a Burger King toy. According to a PETA press release:

Kids lured to Burger King by the free toy crown bestowed on young burger buyers will have plenty of food for thought when they receive PETA’s new promotional handout: a “blood-soaked” crown with golden points impaling pigs and cows. Below each skewered animal are factoids about how animals suffer on Burger King’s factory farms and a slogan that asks, “How Much Cruelty Can You Stomach?” The PETA crowns make their debut in Los Angeles on May 8 and then will appear at Burger Kings across the country.

As with the “Unhappy Meals,” if anyone manages to obtain one of these “bloody crowns” I’d be more than willing to buy one.


Kids Get Bloody Crown At Burger King. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, May 11, 2001.

PETA: March Is "Month of Action"

Now that it’s temporarily abandoned its campaign against McDonald’s, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is setting its sights on Burger King. A PETA press release recently announced that March is “Murder King Month of Action.” The release urged animal rights activists to,

Please take at least one hour in the month of March to ‘be there’ for all the animals slaughtered by Burger King. Please hold a demonstration or just pass out leaflets and stickers at your local Burger King restaurant.

PETA says it has produced “stickers, leaflets, posters, T-shirts, and an anti-Burger King video,” but no word yet on whether they will distribute a grotesque kids meal as they promised to do against McDonald’s.


Month of Action Against Burger King. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, February 2001.