Miami-based Burger King is joining animal rights activists in expressing outrage over new undercover video showing the savage abuse of cows at one of its suppliers.
The video shows a cow helplessly moaning as a worker twists its tail, a worker jumping relentlessly on a cow's back and several other gut-wrenching moments of abuse captured by an animal rights group, Mercy for Animals.
The group said its team spent three weeks this summer recording undercover footage at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairies, one of the largest in the U.S. Burger King indirectly supports the abuse by receiving cheese supplies from Bettencourt, Mercy for Animals said.
“This is blatant animal abuse that Burger King should not be supporting,” Eddie Garza of Mercy for Animals said at a news conference Wednesday in Miami.
Burger King responded on Wednesday, pointing out less than 1 percent of its cheese can be traced to the Idaho dairy.
It also blasted the abuse, saying it upholds a zero-tolerance policy on animal cruelty.
Bettencourt Dairies’ owner, Luis Bettencourt, said that when Idaho authorities told him about the video and allegations, he was “sick about it.”
"We don't tolerate animal abuse. That's a big issue for us," Bettencourt said. "Animal care is a No. 1 issue in our facilities."
Bettencourt said he has fired the five workers seen in the video abusing cows.
“As a result of Mercy for Animal’s investigation, three employees, including a facility manager, have been charged with multiple counts of criminal cruelty to animals,” Garza said.
California-based burger chain In-N-Out is also under pressure to cut its ties with Bettencourt, NBCLA reported.