Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, is a stark and unrelenting look into the fast food industry that has ingrained itself in not only American culture, but in culture around the world. There is almost no place on earth that the golden arches has not entered. Aside from Antarctica, there is a McDonalds on every continent, and the number of countries that have fast food restaurants is growing on a daily basis. Schlosser describes in detail what happens behind the scenes, before the hamburger and fries come wrapped in environmentally safe paper and are consumed by millions of people daily
There are several stories that stick out in my mind. First is the one about a rancher in Colorado. He had resisted the idea of squeezing as many cows in an enclosed area as possible. Instead, he rotates where the cattle eat, what kinds of grasses they eat, and how often they eat it. His ranch was what cattle raising should be. This is in contrast to how a majority of cattle are raised today. They stand in paddocks their whole life where they hardly have the ability to move, and they are fed things that cows aren't designed to eat corn, wheat, chicken parts, and even the leftovers of already slaughtered cattle. Then they are lead up a gangway, into a building where they are first shocked, then hung up by their hooves and have their necks slit, one after another. It harkens back to The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. After one hundred years, the conditions at the meat packing plants have not improved much. It is still the most dangerous job in America. Almost everyone who works there are injured at one point, be it from mechanical smashers or knives that had come too close to their arm. Hundreds of thousands of cattle are slaughtered every day, and that is to keep up with the demand from places like McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. It saddened me to read later that the Colorado rancher committed suicide because he could no longer compete with...
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