As of today, Burger King is calling itself the “first U.S. national chain to pledge cage-free pork and eggs.”
Never heard of “cage-free pork”? Neither had I. In fact, I’m guessing that the PR executives at Burger King may have invented it. There are cage-free eggs, yes. That term refers to eggs from chickens that are raised outside of tiny battery cages (the industry standard), but are still in confinement.
As the AP article makes clear, Burger King is referring to pork raised without gestation crates – a practice of confining pregnant sows to spaces roughly the width of their own bodies that has long been considered the worst of the worst when it comes to animal husbandry. So yes, the pigs will be free of a certain kind of cage, or pen. Does that mean they won’t live in concentrated animals feeding operations (CAFOs)? Unlikely.
No doubt adding in “cage-free pork” beside the eggs seemed like a nice way to streamline Burger King’s big headline. And like the term “free-range” (which itself has no legal meaning and is now used solely for marketing purposes), cage-free sounds so humane, doesn’t it?