Fast Food Nation

This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0060938455/qid=1043244238/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/104-0315487-2678372?v=glance&s=books&n=507846” target=”_blank”>book is killing me. Truly. I just got to the section on the meat industry (after a chapter devoted to the poultry industry, I should have taken a break). The meat industry is the most horrible monstrosity in America. I can’t say I didn’t already know this. When I was a freshman in college a vegetarian roommate asked me to read a book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0915811812/qid=1043243850/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/104-0315487-2678372?v=glance&s=books&n=507846” target=”_blank”>Diet for a New America

It will change your life. You’ll think twice before buying a hamburger or anything else having to do with the meat industry. Just read it.

And he was right, I haven’t touched a hamburger since.
There are so many things I’d like to say and I have so much new-found energy to devote to educating people, so much as a matter of fact, I don’t even know where to begin. It all comes boiling forth towards the tip of my mind, and I think to myself (loudly)

I HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING. SOMEONE MUST SAY SOMETHING! MAKE THIS SHIT STOP!

But it’s just too much and I push myself into a silent corner, engulfed in my own frustration about how shitty and blind people are.
People who argue and think they’re always right are frustrating. I know this. And I try not to be one of these people. But this time, I can safely say and I believe it to the core, that eating meat, given the WAY in which we produce it in America, is just flat out wrong and insane. And if there is a hell, some of the folks who capitalize on it will end up there.
I must also add, that I have never said that killing an animal is wrong. I don’t even think eating meat is wrong. But the industry which feeds our
faces and supplies us with our happy meals and our highway snacks, our “all beef” patties and our soon-to-be-super-sized-ass fries, and our nuggets is just the most devastatingly wasteful industry in America. And it should be fixed. Not completely stopped, but fixed. How do we do this? We lessen the demand. How do we get that to happen? I have no idea. But for starters, I think the book should be a mandatory read for everyone in America.
There is something very wrong here and no one seems to give a damn about where it’s headed. Most folks operate under the

What I don’t know won’t kill me

belief system. What if I said that it will, that it does hurt you? Would that help?
Doesn’t anyone think this is wrong? And if you do and you just don’t care, how is it you sleep at night? I am honestly baffled by my species.

23 Comments

  1. Since I’m starting to go to Bally’s and do the whole “change my eating habits,” maybe this book would ease my mind when I can’t eat fast food…maybe it’ll gross me out so much that I won’t want to. I’m so curious about what about this book is so bothersome.
    I have a good idea, but I’m wondering if it’s worse than what I think.

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  2. megan, it’s horrible. Truly. It just explains everything, from beginning to end. He does an excellent job of actually bringing you there and showing you what it’s like to wade through ankle deep, cow blood and kidneys. It’s truly horrible.

    He’s not even some lefty activit, veggie type. Just some guy who wanted to uncover the truth about the fast food industry.

    It will make you feel better about not eating there or supporting the fast food industry. I can assure you of that. I was thinking this morning, I feel only slightly more proud to not have this bullshit on my conscience.

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  3. You’re reading a very one sided book, keep that in mind.

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  4. He’s merely presenting facts. He’s a meat-eater as well. He’s not out to change the world, he’s just presenting the truth.

    It’s not about sides, actually. It’s a book about factual information regarding an idustry we, as users, are blind to.

    60 Minutes did this as well, and if remember correctly, a change was made after they aired the program. Not a big one, but a change never-the-less. I hope to see the same thing come from this book.

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  5. Don’t be baffled by your species. Your species is the meanest species there is and most of them don’t have a conscience. We do terrible things to animals, humans and plants and don’t lose any sleep over it. We’re just the worst there is.

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  6. but honestly, one-sided or not, no one in their right mind would say that the meat industry is efficient, responsible, or safe. no one. there simply IS no other side to the story.

    you can look through the ME ME glasses of a strict economist and even then the industry only functions because of incredibly lax regulations.

    from flooding the world with antibiotics (which leads to resistance, which leads to illness and insane costs to taxpayers AND industry) to maintaining unsafe workplaces to gambling with genetic sciences, the meat industry is possibly the biggest ‘evil’ in America. the fact that it has a hegemonic hold on the American lifestyle is the only thing more frightening than its practices.

    some industries should be made up of small entities and should be regulated with an impartial, iron fist.

    even the FDA (made up in part by meat industry representatives) and CDC acknowledge that industrial farming is a major threat to the immediate health of citizens (which, you would think, would snap people out of the fog of their routine).

    i’m sure Fast Food Nation is written with zeal, but I challenge anyone to make solid arguments in favor of the practices of the industrial farming or meat industries… if it’s one sided (I haven’t read it, but I assume Rob has?), let someone speak the other side. in my experience, even the rhetoric of the industry itself has hinged only on a point similar to: “People have free will, let them eat cake.”—and we know how hegemons love that defense.

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  7. I read that book a few months back as well. I don’t know what this says about me, but I was more disturbed by the way the workers in the fast-food industry are treated. I know all about how meat is prepared and all that, and yes, it grosses me out. But I still haven’t given up meat entirely. I suppose I still wear my blinders, and I’m not proud of myself for that.

    I would think that one way to lessen demand for “fast food” is to start teaching our children by example. No McDonald’s birthday parties, no Burger King “treats,” etc. That’s a long road to travel, though.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mihow, I think the only way to feel like you’re accomplishing something is do it on a small scale, and hope that you teach one or two people a lesson along the way. Worrying about the entire human race is much too stressful for a lovely girl like you.

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  8. I’m sorry if I haven’t made myself clear, the industry disturbs me the most. Not the eating of meat and the way they kill the animals, necessarily (though this does cause me distress) but the entire industry.

    But that’s the thing, for those who could care less about animal life then, at the very least, they should care for human life. And human life is even worse off within that particular industry and the folks who live within the area said industry inhabits. That said, hopefully the book will reach everyone in some way. (Except for those who care most about money, those people, well they’re a lost cause in my opinion).

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  9. I’m sorry if I haven’t made myself clear, the industry disturbs me the most. Not the eating of meat and the way they kill the animals, necessarily (though this does cause me distress) but the entire industry.

    But that’s the thing, for those who couldn’t care less about animal life then, at the very least, they should care for human life. And human life is even worse off within that particular industry and the folks who live within the area said industry inhabits. That said, hopefully the book will reach everyone in some way. (Except for those who care most about money, those people, well they’re a lost cause in my opinion).

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  10. I’m sorry; I guess I didn’t read your comments all the way through. :) Regardless, I agree.

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  11. I sure hope this post was meant as a joke:

    -Don’t be baffled by your species. Your species is the meanest species there is and most of them don’t have a conscience. We do terrible things to animals, humans and plants and don’t lose any sleep over it. We’re just the worst there is.

    Have you ever studied the animal kingdom? Or are you just trying to be ‘over the top’?

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  12. Don’t be sorry, ms. freakgirl. :] I just wanted to put that “on the record” before it seemed like I was going to run off and join PETA. hehe

    (Though, again, the thought as of late has been crossing my mind).

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  13. Robert, I thought the difference between the human species and other animals is our highly evolved brain. Meaning that we know “right” from “wrong,” yet choose to exploit and hurt people anyway.

    Mihow – not PETA. They can be such assholes. There’s got to be a better group out there; people who don’t need to annoy the public in order to educate them. Just my $.02

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  14. meat industry inefficient?

    excuse me?

    its a fucking well oiled efficent machine

    vertically stacked cages, bare-necessities diets (allegedly sometimes undernourished), differing grades of meat sent to class markets, scraps/organs harvested and used for domesticated and farm feed, bones used for gelatin/filtering

    people might not use everything on their plate, but short of saying a prayer about the animal they just slaughtered, industry is about as efficient in harvesting animal (by)products as those stories native americans were

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  15. Ahhh but it is so very wasteful too.

    One example (of many): In the poultry/egg industry, when a male chick is born, they are dumped (alive) directly into large bags where they will eventually die. Why? Because they can’t lay eggs. That, my friend, is such a fucking waste it hurts.

    (It’s cruel too. But folks don’t really tend to care about all that crap).

    But I do hear what you’re saying, Jon. I do I do.

    It’s pretty sick and in the end, the only species who will suffer are human. Whether the be directly related (work for the industry) or indirectly (live near a factory) they will be/are effected. Greatly.

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  16. It’s terribly inefficient economically, bettering on a few rich people up top. That’s for damn sure.

    But who gives a damn about the poor folks, most of them are immigrants anyway.

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  17. It’s terribly inefficient economically, bettering the rich people who run it. That’s for damn sure.

    But who gives a damn about the poor folks working for the industry making nothing, most of them are immigrants anyway.

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  18. Actually, I wasn’t joking. The animal kingdom is not as cruel as humans are. Animals kill, but never for fun. We humans do. And we kill other humans or animals, that doesn’t seem to matter. And we also seem to like to torture people or animals. We try to find ways to kill loads of people or animals in an efficient and effective way. And most of the time not for very good reasons.

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  19. jon, while cages may be small, that alone doesn’t mean that the industry is efficient. the land wasted alone is sickening. the land used to raise cattle (which is a far less efficient use than growing vegetables or grains and, in fact, leaves the land nearly useless in that regard), any water near the site (including all rivers into which runoff flows), and the land used to grow insane amounts of feed for cattle – all of these are just the tip of the iceberg when considering efficiency. looking then at the aforementioned medical costs incurred by insurance companies and the government due to illness from resistant microorganisms (which results from filling animals with antibiotics to fight off infections caused from overcrowding, poor environment, and weakened immune systems which result from experimental hormone treatments), we see that there are lots of area the industry could look at in making themselves more efficient. the money that might be saved in settlement cases, (rare) EPA-mandated cleanups of polluted land (again, the meat industry is the number one polluter in the US), and recalls could be saved, given effort. of course, the idea is that consumers would flip if they had to pay more than a few cents for a hunk of meat. that may be true in some circles, but given that the meat industry has a stronghold on the FDA and that its distributors (chain restaurants being key) hold much cultural power, people would stop bitching and just accept it. hell, some people might even decide that an animal doesn’t need to die for EVERY meal. though, that might be a side effect of raising prices that the industry fears.

    efficiency goes beyond how many chicken cages can be stacked in a warehouse.

    in my opinion, food industries should be grouped with utility companies and controlled strictly and impartially by government. when dealing with necessities, safety should be first, cost last. there should be a cap on the size of companies, on the land they control. if the people who ran things cared about what they were doing (versus caring only about money and their hegemonic hold) things would be much better. if nothing else, there would be room for popular opposition to careless science and less money with which to freely experiment. as it is, the hormones, the antibiotics, these are not matter-of-course scientific innovations but temporary solutions to problems caused by the very carelessness of the industry. the reason the meat industry is different is that the effects extend in innumerable directions and the reach is unknown.

    control of the damaging practices of (nearly) compulsory industries is one of the points on which a government should be judged. instead we applaud when these (nearly) compulsory industries are allowed to go against good judgment in order to lower consumer costs.

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  20. michele-

    question: what do they do with the bags of dead baby chickens? i have a feeling they don’t bury them.

    toby-
    the meat industry is frighteningly efficient. all your critiques are on its byproducts / external effects.

    i think its a piece of crap. and i’m against it. and think that globally it is inefficient. but as an industry? they seem to be quite profitable and resourceful.

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  21. sorry, i just don’t agree, jon. first off, many points i made were concerning the actual costs incurred directly by the industry as an earning body (insurance, land, EPA cleanups, purchased political muscle, R&D for solutions to problems the industry creates, settlements, recalls…), if one can see an industry as that and nothing more (after all, ‘industry’ is a term applied to a multiplicity). the side-effects must be considered as well. no matter what you consider, though, efficiency has to be measured not against the current state of things, but against all possible states of things. efficiency is making the most out of given resources, not destroying resources and wasting money…

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