Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: The Reality of Fast Food Meat

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According to Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, "Fast food has had an enormous impact not only on our eating habits but on our economy, our culture, and our values"(3). According to Roni Rabin on any given day, about one quarter of U.S. adults visit a fast-food restaurant. The typical American now eats about three hamburgers each week (2). Schlosser also writes that “thirty years ago Americans spent about six billion dollars annually on fast food. In the year 2000 they spent over one-hundred and ten billion dollars, more than on higher education, personal computers, or new cars (3). The reality of fast food is regarding the spreading and feeding of illness and disease; as well as the inhumane treatment of animals through modern meat farming practices. Our society imagines images of happy animals living on farms where the cows graze in lush green fields and the chickens run around as they please. This vision of free-roaming animals living out their days in sunny fields is very far from the reality. A majority of the animals that are raised for food live miserable lives in dark and overcrowded facilities. These facilities are commonly called "factory farms"(Maguire 5).

Factory farming began in the 1920s soon after the discovery of vitamins A and D. Shirley Leung said, when these vitamins are added to feed, animals no longer require exercise and sunlight for growth (B2). This allowed large numbers of animals to be raised indoors year-round. The greatest problem that was faced in raising these animals indoors was the spread of disease, which was fought against in the 1940s with the development of antibiotics. Farmers found they could increase productivity and reduce the operating costs by using machines and assembly-line techniques. Unfortunately, this trend of mass production has resulted in incredible pain and suffering for the animals. Animals today raised on factory farms have had their genes manipulated and pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals to encourage high productivity. In the fast food industry, animals are not considered animals at all; “they are food producing machines” (BBC). They are confined to small cages with metal bars, ammonia-filled air and artificial lighting or no lighting at all. They are subjected to horrible mutilations: beak searing, tail docking, ear cutting and castration. The worst thing is that ...

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...of what really lurks behind your next double cheeseburger, because as Eric Schlosser stated: “You are what you eat” (10).


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Maguire, Holly. “Skipping Stones.” International Journal 14 (2004): 5.

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You Eat.” U.S News & World Report 130 .3 (2001):54.

Rabin, Roni Camryn. "Fast Food a Factor in Student Obesity." New York Times. n.p., 25 Mar. 2009. Web. 29 Jul. 2013.
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