I want to eat cows. I want to eat ribs, burgers, steaks and even bottom round roast (the butt). I would love to swim in the fluffy meat pillows of steak goodness, indulging my continuously growing gluttony. But, the Man keeps screwing my meat fantasy. I can’t, in any good conscience, eat beef.
For the typical family of suburbia, waking up at 7 a.m. to go to work, grabbing a convenience-laden breakfast burrito from McDonald’s with a side of coffee water is second nature. I get it. I used to work construction with those very same people, and was often mocked for wanting to “steer” the crew in a healthier direction.
I would often wonder why these guys didn’t seem to care about their body, and it wasn’t until I had to start paying bills of my own that I began to understand. But back when I was 15 and high school was my biggest commitment, I didn’t get it.
I didn’t get it nor did I really try to. They seemed doomed to a life of congested arteries and manual labor, neither of which I was particularly interested in.
Then when I moved out and started working three jobs while going to school full time, it hit me. Those advertisements start to work when you are tired and hungry. Riding my bike home past those golden arches on Yale Boulevard, the hot, fried fumes tickling my nose hairs — the short-term cost of getting a value meal starts to make a lot more sense.
Fortunately, my body has zero ability to digest all of that crap, and every time I try I fall ill. Although I do find myself in line at Wingstop from time to time, on the whole, I stay away.
Do I care what you eat? No. I couldn’t care less, and the last thing I want to do is make you feel guilty. But, what you eat effects what I eat. We don’t live in a free economy entirely, but for the food industry it is equivalent to the Wild West. Consumer choice still dictates.
The population demands fast food, and the fast food company demands that all of their food is the same. How would you feel walking into a McDonald’s and getting chicken nuggets that didn’t taste like the ones you ate every other time? You would be outraged. If you go on YouTube, you can listen to dozens of 911 calls in protest of the consistency of all sorts of things. The people demand the police come down and give them their food; fortunately, our police are not regulated by free market.
After hearing these complaints and not wanting to spend more money or pull back their enterprise, these companies turn to industrialization. More science than food, they break everything down into tube form and spritz the whole concoction with everything from ammonia to antibiotics. This process of industrialization takes almost all taste away from the food, which, if it is soaked in ammonia, is probably a good thing. But, the companies now have complete control over the taste of all food in their restaurants, and that is because it is entirely conceived in a lab. Flavors, heavy in fats, are added to everything, from the burgers to the buns.
So, you ask, “Why can’t you eat beef? Don’t you use Clorox on your kitchen counters? What’s the difference?”
No, I don’t use Clorox. And, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of all antibiotics in the United States are given to animals. I would also say that because of the need for tube-formed food, and the fact that there are a fraction of the slaughterhouses that once existed in the U.S., one burger contains not just the meat from one cow but dozens to even hundreds.
What does this rampant use of
antibiotics and multi-cow burgers mean? Other than some gross mental images, there is nothing wrong with any of it, right? Wrong.
A new Boston University study shows that even at low levels, antibiotics used on farms to stimulate animal growth also tend to stimulate mutation in bacteria. Antibiotics largely kill bacteria by encouraging the production of free radicals in the cells. In low doses, those free radicals can greatly increase the chance of mutation in the bacteria, sometimes resulting in resistance to a wide range of antibiotics.
The process of feeding cows exclusively on corn, for which they do not have a digestive tract, has created a specific strand of E. coli that has devastating effects on people. The process of switching cattle to grass just before they’re slaughtered, which would dramatically reduce the rates of meat being infected, has been deemed too expensive. So now there are resistant bugs in our food. This is where soaking meat in ammonia comes in.
Massive meat recalls are pretty normal these days. I remember hearing of one that could’ve provided one burger for every person in America. Those meat recalls are a direct result of all this tainted meat being mixed together into multi-cow burgers. All it takes is one sick animal.
The industrialization of our food has done the opposite of what it should have done. Industry is for empowerment of people, taking less manual labor and resulting in more freedom. This isn’t the case, people are not taking food into their own hands. They are taking what is given to them off the assembly line.
Around 1 percent of Americans are farmers. Food is no longer connected to our population. It exists separately from where it comes from. Meat is one of the worst cases, but the problem spreads to almost all aspects of agriculture. This is only a side note in a much bigger story.
Just think a little before you fill that hole on your face. Because at some point, I would like to enjoy fear-free beef again.