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Cash Cows?

I just finished reading Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. While as a vegan I was hoping that Schlosser would advocate vegetarianism, I disagree with Jandos Rothstein (“Supersize This,” 3/9) that Schlosser’s book doesn’t have the potential to have the impact of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. If meat eaters read this book, there is no way they can feel secure about the U.S. meat supply or trust the fast-food industry or the federal government. Rothstein concludes that “the worst villains that emerge from Schlosser’s research are not the fast-food giants.” It is unclear how he came to that conclusion. Schlosser is very clear throughout the book, and especially at the end, that McDonald’s, in particular, has the power to alter the country’s treatment of workers, animals, and the environment. If McDonald’s wanted to serve vegan french fries and vegetable burgers, it could do so.

If consumers refused to enter the Golden Arches until the chain’s appalling food and worker practices were altered, McDonald’s would have to change. If parents, such as Rothstein, refused to let their children dictate what they eat, the fast-food industry would fall just like the tobacco industry. Rothstein claims that there needs to be a “crisis” for that to happen. Decimation of land, the needless breeding and killing of billions of animals, obesity, high rates of chronic diseases, and the dwindling of family farms aren’t crises?