Sunday, February 5, 2012

2-5-12 McDonalds Killer Nugget Ad

On Friday the brilliant minds at McDonald's ad agency unveiled a new radio spot, apparently aimed at the bad press they are getting over the lack of, well, chicken,  in their chicken nuggets. Huffington ran a piece a good while back that widened the circulation of the picture of the, um, goo that is dyed and fried and passed off as meat. If you haven't gotten to share in the tasty goodness, be sure to read it here. While this has been stopped to some extent, the reality is the additives and synthetic materials pumped into processed foods are poison.

It doesn't quite match McDonald's description that their nuggets are "tender, juicy... made with white meat wrapped up in a crisp tempura batter..." does it? Go lawyers, you've been exactly vague enough.

Which brings us back to the radio ad, wherein McDonalds asserts eating its nuggets are safer than . . .

petting a pitbull. 

I suppose the ad execs figured all those stereotypical poor ghetto pit owners would never have the resources at their disposal to harness social media and fight back, but surprise! within a few hours the phone number above was "having technical difficulties" and by the afternoon McDonald's pulled the ad and thought a tweeted apology was enough. 

It's not.

The sad fact is, many people really do believe there is some "killing machine" gene or "death lock jaw enzyme" (I've heard both frequently) that makes pitbulls dangerous from birth. Only humans have the power to turn a dog (ANY dog) into a killing machine, and it takes an enormous amount of effort to do so. But this doesn't stop the perception that pits are inherently dangerous.

Widely mis-classified, temperament tests on anything called a "pit" put their friendliness rating at 84%. Collies only manage 79%. But then, no one is crossing the street to avoid my dogs on our walks because they might just "snap" and go for their throat. 

The national average is that 1/3 of all dogs in shelters are bully type breeds (all classified as "pitbull mix"), and up to 70% of all dogs in urban areas. If you surrender a dog to a kill-facility, you are generally writing their death sentence. For a pit, it's almost a guarantee. Some estimates give pits a 7% chance of being adopted. Three quarters of all kill shelters euthanize any dog looking anything like a pit immediately, with no chance for adoption. These are generalized statistics, because there is no single reporting agency, or even reporting laws in place for some shelters. 

But all you need to do is look at the faces of a single shelter, the NYC AC&C, in the 15 kill folders that reside on Urgent2's facebook page to see what's happening. Each folder holds 200 pictures. Each picture is of a dog put down at the shelter. The first picture in the first folder is dated August, 2010. For 18 months, volunteers work tirelessly to try and find each dog a home, a rescue, a foster, but more pictures are added to the kill folders daily. The vast majority of sweet faces were classified as pitbull or pit mix. Many were never even shown to the public for adoption. Lots of them caught a cold AT the shelter and can thus not be counted in the reported euthanized numbers of "adoptable" dogs because they can be counted as "sick" despite being healthy when they walked through the door.

Shrinking the screen as small as I could, I only managed 40 pictures from one album here.

There are 60 more killed dogs in this folder alone. There are 14 more folders as of this writing, each with 200 more dogs never given a chance.

For McDonalds to contribute to the unfair perception of these dogs as dangerous while touting the safety of their frankennugget needlessly digs more graves, on both counts.

Shame on them. 


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