Search Twitter for “EZ Chicken” and you won’t find what had been Panera Bread’s @EZChicken account, which it used to promote its antibiotic-free chicken. Instead, you’ll find apologies similar to this one:
Plenty of blog posts
over the past week or so have documented just what the @EZChicken account was all about, particularly one from a blogger who calls herself Dairy Carrie
, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin. She posted several of the cartoons that populated the @EZChicken account, which seem to be going for meme status and include slogans such as, “Hard work pays off eventually. But lazy pays off now.” The character in the cartoons is a mix between a chicken and a pill.
Dairy Carrie’s conclusion: Panera was calling farmers who use antibiotics lazy. She offers why that’s problematic:
I used antibiotics to help a sick calf get better last week, my friends the organic farmers had a cow with pneumonia and they gave that cow antibiotics to make her better. They had to sell her, but she lived. Does that mean we are lazy? Is it lazy to take care of our sick animals?
Those blog posts eventually evolved into a sort of Twitter counter-campaign using the hashtag #PluckEZChicken.
Panera’s chief marketing officer, Michael Simon, apparently called Dairy Carrie
on Friday, promising to remove the EZ Chicken images, and that seems to have happened. He did defend an ad
that discusses taking “the hard road” with its ingredients, including chicken, however. Simon also said he would offer a clarification of Panera’s viewpoint on Facebook
, though that doesn’t seem to have happened yet.
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What is happening right now is Panera apologizing on Twitter—but #PluckEZChicken lives on.