Since the issue of vegetarianism and meat has come up again, let me ask: has anyone been f
Since the issue of vegetarianism and meat has come up again, let me ask:
has anyone been following the McDonald's libel case in England?
McDonald's is suing two environmental activists for distributing
leaflets arguing for a boycott of McD's. The arguments range from labor
practices to animal treatment to public health. The argument that I
found both compelling and relevant to list discussion was their claim
that McDonald's (and other fast food chains and commercial buyers of
meat) practices are a major cause of starvation in the Third World. Here
is the relevant excerpt from a longer version of the pamphlet.
HUNGRY FOR DOLLARS
McDonald's is one of several giant corporations with
investments in vast tracts of land in poor countries, sold
to them by the dollar-hungry rulers (often military) and
privileged elites, evicting the small farmers that live
there growing food for their own people.
The power of the US dollar means that in order to buy
technology and manufactured goods, poor countries are
trapped into producing more and more food for export to the
States. Out of 40 of the world's poorest countries, 36
export food to the USA - the wealthiest.
Some 'Third World' countries, where most children are
undernourished, are actually exporting their staple crops as
animal feed - i.e. to fatten cattle for turning into burgers
in the 'First World'. Millions of acres of the best farmland
in poor contries are being used for our benefit - for tea,
coffee, tobacco, etc. - while people there are starving.
McDonald's is directly involved in this economic
imperialism, which keeps most black people poor and hungry
while many whites grow fat.
GROSS MISUSE OF RESOURCES
Grain is fed to cattle in South American countries to
produce the meat in McDonald's hamburgers. Cattle consume 10
times the amount of grain and soy that humans do: one
calorie of beef demands ten calories of grain. Of the 145
million tons of grain and so fed to livestock, only 21
million tons of meat and by-products are used. The waste is
124 million tons per year at a value of 20 billion US
dollars. It has been calculated that this sum would feed,
clothe and house the world's entire population fo one year.
Comments or corrections, anyone?
BTW, the URL for a Web page on the McLibel case is:
Both the original leaflet and the expanded version are available there,
as well as other information about the case.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank