McDonald’s is for (Animal) Lovers

Samantha A. Mumola

It is no secret that the United States meat and dairy industries are harmful to animals, our health, and our planet.  Whether it is to slim down, become healthier, save animals’ lives, or reduce toxic waste, more people are adopting vegan and vegetarian diets every yearNo proof exists that humans must consume meat to live; to the contrary, it has been proven that those who live on plant-based diets are less likely to suffer from cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.  Besides damaging one’s health, the meat industry also produces vast amounts of pollution and is one of the biggest causes of climate change.  This is all without mentioning the most heartbreaking truth about our society’s obsession with meat: it is an unnecessary waste of sentient animals’ lives.

Meat is especially harmful in the form that most United States citizens are receiving it.  Before a piece of flesh touches your plate, it has already been exposed to antibiotics, hormones, bacteria, ammonia, chlorine, fecal matter, and a host of other toxins that can cause serious health issues.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), meat can be given certain “medically necessary” antibiotics, and still be considered “organic.”  If external toxins are found in even the most regulated and expensive meat, one can only imagine what is contaminating the processed scrap meat served at fast food chains.  However, this thought is often suppressed by the millions of fast food consumers who ignore what they are actually eating because their affinity with convenience is much stronger. The reality is that, if given the choice between a meal that is ready to be eaten and a meal that still needs to be prepared, the vast majority would take the former.

Luckily for McDonald’s customers in Norway, you can have your cake and eat it, too.  Earlier last month, the global fast food kingpin introduced its first non-meat meal options in Norway: Vegan McNuggets and the Vegetarian McFeast burger.  The new selections added to the list of vegan and vegetarian menu items being tested by McDonald’s throughout the world, albeit in very limited jurisdictions.  The other choices include the McVegan burger, a permanent menu item in Finland since 2017, the McFalafel in Sweden, and the McAloo Tikki in Chicago, the company’s global headquarters restaurant.

Regardless if you call it goodwill or a smart marketing strategy, what McDonalds is doing is important.  The company’s progressive actions to accommodate those who have eliminated meat from their diet sets them apart from most other fast food chains, as they are paving the way for an industry-wide response to dietary shifts toward vegetarianism and veganism.  Considering all of the failing animal welfare regulations, it is very likely that all we as humans need in order to overcome our meat obsession is to have a variety of meatless options readily available.  Thus, even if McDonald’s is doing this for economic reasons, it should still be commended for making vegan and vegetarian options more prevalent and accessible to its customers.  While it is argued that the use of carbohydrates makes these meatless options not so healthy, it is certainly better than the nearly fake meat it provides in their traditional menu items because it is better for the environment and no animals are hurt in the making.  Besides, who goes to McDonalds to be healthy anyway?

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