I have been reading "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser and I always knew in
the back of my mind how bad the fast food industry really was. But not until you
do the research do you know how far down the rabbit hole goes. He did it. Not
only did he read books but he traveled across the nation meeting the folks who
make it all happen every day and made it in the 50's.
It seems there is more to the story than anyone would have guessed. You can't only look at the angles of food and that it's bad for you, or the fact that the animals are being slaughtered in an inhumane fashion. No, it goes beyond that. It touches people and it touches the land. Changes small towns where they opened up new factories to slaughter the animals. Changes prairies where generations of farmers had owned the same land for centuries. There is more than just animal blood staining the wrappers.
Take for example the small town of Lexington. Now referred to as Mexington. Mr. Schlosser describes it as a town that Norman Rockwell might have painted: " Shade trees, comfy chairs on front porches". In 1990 one of the big companies of slaughter, IBP, opened a slaughtering plant. It was a quiet rural town with beautiful landscapes and nice people. Today it has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Why? Well because the slaughtering plants in order to cut down the costs, bring in poor migrant workers from Mexico, who expect to make a decent living when they get there. Instead, they are faced with the harsh cold reality that they barely have enough to survive. Enraged at their life, they go and steal to make up for what they don't have. Also, if that is not enough, people live with the constant smell that has taken permanent residence in peoples air: the smell of burning hair and blood, a greasy smell, and the smell of hydrogen sulfide or "rotten eggs". It seems whenever a plant comes to town, the town turns into a ghetto nightmare.
The examples are endless. There are dozens if not hundreds of these towns littering our landscape. It is not the poor people that come that we have to blame. They are looking for a chance at survival and some food in their bellies. They are not the problem. If they were treated with respect and dignity for doing these cruel jobs they would act differently. I blame these huge multinational corporations that have stolen the profits from under the noses of the poor farmers in the rural heart lands of this country.. Today only 3 corporations control most of the meat we eat: ConAgra(the biggest), IBP and Excel. Between them they have gobbled up any competition and made the rest of the world dependent on them. They control it all and the farmers depend on them to buy their cattle.
One farmer who is mentioned in the book is a man who sounds like he has the fire of life within him. His name is Hank. He had served on committees and had protested the industry, you name it. He had tried to make a difference. He had two beautiful daughters and a ranch in the Colorado country side. Slowly the cities were coming closer to him and he was afraid one of these companies might buy him out or worse leave him penniless. At the end of the chapter dedicated to him, you find out he killed himself. The pressure even on someone with a spark for life was too much.
But this isn't only in the fast food industry where you find this. The other day a man killed himself hari kari style in Mexico in front of where the world trade meetings were happening.
"Lee Kyoung-Hae had written about his plight, but few had read his words. He had protested about the way he and other peasant farmers were being bullied out of business, but felt he was being ignored.
Yesterday Lee finally got the World Trade Organisation to focus on the ruinous policies that have left farmers in his native South Korea on the brink of disaster, but it took his death - by his own hand - to turn global attention his way. "
- The Guardian
Another problem he encountered was the accidents in the slaughter houses. There are countless reasons.. One is the fact that they are trying to produce such large amounts of beef that the machines are working at four times the normal speed. Time is money folks! These people are under-skilled and under-paid. The turn over rate is about 90% annually. The accidents account for more than half of that rate. People have died from the meat hooks, from decaptitation, from falling in the lard tubs and becoming boiled lard or from smelling the noxious fumes of the waste disposal of the animals. The accidents are treated as if nothing happened and most people never get insurance before they have these accidents. These migrant workers end up with no arms, legs, or heads, and no one to pay the bills, or give them compensation.
These are where your Big Macs are coming from. ConAgra is the biggest supplier of beef to the world. So not only Big Macs, but your supermarket and restaurant beef. Also they make: turkey, chicken, pork and soy beans. Is this where we want to get our food from?
We are being forced to live under a one world, one view nation. As the industries grow, so does the idea of globalization. We are handing over of our basic rights for Big Brother to take over things we as humans are supposed to do on our own. We have sacrificed freedom for luxury. Corporate schemes are hurting everything. It is becoming a monster none of us will be able to stop.
I really recommend you read this book and others like it. Also share with your friends and family your new found knowledge. It's okay if they think you're crazy at first. God knows my whole family does and has told me endless times. In time the universe places a well selected article in their hands and they come telling you how they read the same thing you told them.. That's when you can smile and not say I told you so. Well maybe you can.
Another thing, lets boycott these McDonald's and Burger Kings. They are polluting our bodies, our minds, our waters and our earth.
Love and Peace