Wednesday, 25 April 2007

McDonald's Jumps on the Ethical Meat Bandwagon

They've got an new campaign focusing on the treatment of animals on their farms, the quality of the cuts of beef they use, and natural rearing methods. It's interesting that even the world's biggest fast food supplier is now concerned with proving its meat ethics.

While I'm of course far too skeptical to be swayed by such a move and think the campaign is likely 100% (free range?) bullshit, I do find it really heartening that even a company as powerful as McDonald's is feeling pressured by an increasing public awareness of the ethical issues surrounding meat. That can only be a good sign for how influential this movement is becoming. Although with popularization there is always the danger of the discussion becoming all about stupid lip service and using the right language to prove your ethical cred, and losing a lot of its meaning. Which such a campaign certainly hints at.


Graeme said...

I doubt that it's bullshit simply because if it was, people (investigative journalists, activists, and so on) would find out and McDonald's would suffer a massive PR blow that they might not be able to afford in the wake of Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation, and so on. I think that some of their responses to the anti-McD's thing have been a bit bullshitty, such as their 'healthy menu'. The items such as the salads are indeed fine, but it doesn't change that people go to McDonald's to have Big Macs and fries and having salads and other low fat items on the menu isn't going to change eating habits.

Even so, you're right and that it is really positive that these issues are becoming increasingly important and that McDonald's feels that they have to make an issue of this to be competitive. I imagine that a lot of other businesses will follow suit.

Anna said...

The campaign is based on this idea that you can visit their "farm"--while I don't doubt such a farm exists, I do doubt that that's the kind of place all their meat comes from. One cute farm or two doesn't account for all the meat you produce (not to mention that McD historically have not reared their own meat? Since when does this even exist?) If it was true that this was how they were getting ALL their meat, how on earth would their food still be so cheap? Would McD's be that willing to give up profit margins just to clear their consciences?