King Midas is remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched to gold. Rick Berman, the public relations operative who's been hired by corporate interests to perpetuate animal cruelty, coal-fired power plants, and mercury in fish, amongst other ignoble causes, seems to have the opposite effect. Now, more than ever, whatever he touches turns to stone.
Through the years, Berman has fought for tanning beds and now they are taxed. He's fought against bans on smoking, and now there are more no-smoking signs at more places than you can count – from restaurants to office buildings to airplanes.
He's had no lasting successes with his efforts to defend seal clubbing, veal crates, puppy mills, or the confinement of hens in battery cages. And his signature campaigns defending confinement of sows in gestation crates and the use of elephants in the circus are the latest examples of just how ineffective he is.
On the issue of gestation crates, Berman, often described by reporters as someone representing "restaurants and food retailers," has pretty much failed at everything he's touched. Within the last three years, when Berman has been most active on the campaign – appearing in the United States and in Canada at pork industry events and dubbing the crates "maternity pens" – almost every major food retailer in these countries has agreed to phase out gestation crates for pigs. The rip tides against crates started with McDonald's agreeing to phase them out, in February 2012. Since then, Burger King, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Cracker Barrel, and just about every other big name in food retail has gotten on board, making public pledges to phase out the crates. In Canada, the seven largest food retailers got on board, and then the government of Canada banned the installation of new crates as of 2014 and pledged a complete phase-out of the crates within a decade.