McDonald’s wants you to believe their meat is sustainable
I shouldn’t have to warn you that McDonald’s is up to no good.
The Calgary Herald reports that a two-year pilot project by McDonald’s Canada has the brand pushing the Canadian beef industry one step closer to creating a national verification system for “sustainable beef.” The fast-food chain is the biggest buyer of beef in Canada, so naturally, they are listening to buzzwords and attempting to remain favourable to food-curious consumers…all without really doing much.
From January 2014-2016, they sourced a minuscule 0.2 per cent of their patties from suppliers that complied with sustainability criteria that was not defined. Now, they’re committed to increasing their supply of “sustainable beef” by sharing their pilot project results with the Canadian Roundtable on Sustainable Beef (CRSB), an organization made up of agriculture groups, environmental organizations, and food and retail service companies. The CRSB wants to develop an independent, national system that will measure and verify beef “sustainability” in Canada. They disgustingly call it the ‘birth to burger’ chain.
Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chair of the CRSB, claims the project has helped the beef industry better understand what people want, even though people don’t really seem to know themselves. “It’s a change in mentality, a change in thinking. The reality is, as an industry, we were already doing 95 per cent of what they asked us to, we just didn’t have the reporting mechanism to really be able to demonstrate it and verify it,” she told The Calgary Herald. So, nothing changes but McDonald’s gets to slap a big ‘sustainable’ sticker on their boxes, and people get to feel better about exploiting animals while sending us further in to our environmental disaster spiral.
The people who are demanding proof of ethical and responsible animal agriculture already have that gut feeling that the practices of these corporations are no good, but it’s what they’re doing – not how. Not unlike the ‘cruelty free,’ ‘cage free,’ and ‘hormone free’ deceptions of other widely available products, our instincts to not want to cause harm are being buried by big business reassuring us their brand of exploitation is somehow better. We already know that the land, water, and grain required to raise livestock is unsustainable, and no label will truly change that.
If fast food chains were concerned about contributing to a sustainable future, and not a steady increase in profitability, they’d spend their research dollars on making marketable plant-based food sources instead. Consumers can influence real change by making the best choice for themselves, by going vegan.