Why is this the funnest news all month? Because of the very famous pin-up girls involved in the dispute. Paris Hilton is, after all, famous for her extremely sexy Carl's Jr. ads (I'd venture to say they are the pinnacle of her sordid career). Alicia Silverstone has made headlines with her racy PETA ads that were pulled off the air thanks to their nearly-naked nature. So in the cage match between Paris Hilton and Alicia Silverstone, I could have called it: smart Alicia whooped Paris' lingerie-clad booty with a (slightly happier) hen.
I was excited -- I love news about cage-free eggs, especially when Paris is involved -- until I read the story, which (as Zac Bissonnette points out) details the agreement between PETA and CKE, under which the chain agrees to buy 15% of its pork products from pigs whose suppliers fit a very narrow definition of humane treatment and 2% of its eggs from chickens not kept in wire cages. Yep. TWO percent. There doesn't appear to be any greater promise than that down the road (though happier sows are promised to make up 25% by 2009).
Evidence suggests that part of the problem could be a lack of supply -- after all, using wire cages is famously efficient or it wouldn't have been developed in the first place. And cage-free chickens aren't necessarily any better treated than those in cages; so it's an open question whether PETA should be spending its time advocating for their eggs. Chickens who aren't in cages are typically subjected to a number of indignities meant to limit their aggression (you'd be aggressive too if you were kept in a big stinky barn with thousands of your family members), from beak-trimming to wing-clipping to keeping them in twilight around the clock.
And it pisses me off a bit that CKE is getting good PR for a move that is the teeniest promise all year. In the struggle for recognition as an animal-friendly company, I'm going to have to give Hardee's and Carl's Jr. an "Incomplete."