These signs have popped up at Burger Kings -- all owned by the same franchisee -- in Tennessee and elsewhere in the Deep South, and as you might imagine they've caused a bit of a stir:
The dispute began to sizzle last week, when a local newspaper reporter in Memphis, Tennessee, noticed the signs outside two restaurants in the city and contacted the corporation to establish if the message represented its official viewpoint. Burger King's headquarters in Miami said it did not, adding that it had ordered MIC to take the signs down.
But a few days later readers of the Memphis paper said they had seen about a dozen Burger King restaurants across the state displaying the signs and that some had yet to be taken down. Media attempts to contact MIC to establish why it was taking an apparently defiant stance were rebuffed, but the Guardian managed to grill MIC's marketing president, John McNelis.
"I would think [Burger King] would run from any form of controversy kinda like cockroaches when the lights get turned on," said Mr McNelis. "I'm not aware of any direction that they gave the franchisee and I don't think they have the authority to do it."
On the free speech issues, I think that the franchisee, Mirabile, totally has the right to put up these signs at their restaurants, although Burger King also has the right because of their private business relationship to sanction them for doing so. If people don't like Mirabile's unscientific view of climate change, they're free to eat somewhere else...which is probably the only reason that Burger King Corp. even cares about the signs in the first place. Ultimately, the solution to the public airing of wrongheaded views is to drown them out with facts.
So in this case, people should know global warming isn't baloney...it's hamburgers! So you can understand why a Burger King franchise owner might get so worked up about this issue. Here are the facts, and just to be extra "fair and balanced" I'm pulling this from the conservative-owned Breitbart.com:
When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say.
Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week.
That's because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pellerier of Dalhousie University in Canada.
The livestock sector is estimated to account for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and beef is the biggest culprit.
It's good to be the king -- but not of global warming. In fact, experts say that even other meats like chicken or pork have a much less harmful impact on the environment. I sort of knew that, but this controversy over the Burger King sign inspired me to do a little more research.
So...thank you, Mirabile Investment Corp. for causing a debate that raised public awareness -- of the fact that burgers aren't so good for the planet!