Am I Right To Feel Bad About McDonald’s?
Each time I drive past a McDonald’s, which happens quite a lot given the ubiquity of their establishments, the following thoughts flash through my mind (read below). And then I feel guilty that I feel so bad about an American institution that has a global presence and employs, directly and indirectly, millions of servers, builders, drivers, farmers, plumbers, electricians, and the like. Am I right to feel this way? You be the judge.
McDonald’s is the leader of an industry we commonly refer to as fast food. In McDonald’s case, the fast food is predominantly hamburger beef and chicken. The company has created such a huge demand for its beef and chicken that it has encouraged the industrial slaughter of cattle and chickens on an unprecedented scale. These animals are bred, raised and slaughtered in conditions that many of us consider inhumane and immoral.
The raising of so many cattle and chickens has given rise to very serious environmental problems, including the injection of vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere and pollutants into our water supply. Moreover, so many antibiotics are used in the production of the meat, that new strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria have emerged as a result.
All that livestock in turn requires large amounts of corn to keep it fed, and so our nation’s farm policy encourages and subsidizes growing corn at the expense of many other crops, fruits, and vegetables. We are drowning in corn, but don’t produce enough fruits and vegetables to satisfy our own “healthy eating” guidelines.
Fast food has been linked to obesity and related disorders like diabetes; it is loaded with fats and sugars, and if consumed regularly, will have a detrimental impact on your health and the health of our nation. The health care costs of treating diabetes have soared in tandem with the growth of fast food.
All this for a hamburger and fries. Am I right to feel bad about McDonalds? What do you think?