Ground Beef Recall/Growing Chicken Muscle

Rick Knight (
Mon, 25 Aug 97 11:56:55 CST

I noticed a big full page ad in Section A of the SF Chronicle today
which attempted to dispel concerns about people eating at Burger King
(due to the E coli scare linked to their meat distributor). I am
struck by the minimal amount of effort it takes to lull the public at
large back into a state of denial about the quality of food they
consume, not to mention the sources and conditions under which this
type of "food" is made available.

Accountability once again is the buzzword. It would be interesting to
get the real skinny on how this large scale recall came about. Was it
an unfortunate and largely unpreventable accident? Is it mounting
carelessness and lack of thorough quality control? Do the workers in
the meat-processing plants give a rat's ass what the general public
throw down their gullets? Do the FDA inspectors? Do the stockholders
of the companies supplying meat along its journey from Bessie to
Whopper? IMO, here is another instance where the myopic focus on
profit and the growing apathy associated with meaningless work
comingle and the result? People getting sick from contanimated meat.
Thousands of cows, their lives, their waste, their grain consumption
wasted. Maybe one plus is that it provides a sobering slap in the
face for a completely heartless industry.

This weekend at the Renaissance Faire (which would've really been
enjoyable had I not felt a minute-by-minute pressure to buy this or
that by the incessant hawkers), I tried a marinated soy meat which was
being used in place of a BBQ beef product and it was quite good! The
Burger Nouveau patties (for those of you fortunate enough to have
access to Trader Joe's) meet my still-carnivorous taste standards.

Why are the fast food chains not making anything more than SALAD and
very whimpy burritos available to people who want a quick, vegetarian
bite on the go? Their fervent endorsement of beef and poultry at the
expense of cruel and unusual treatment that, were it a cat, dog or
monkey, they'd be hauled off to jail. The animals' death is the most
merciful part of their existence! Their lives (particularly the
chickens) are a living hell (if chickens could conceive hell that is).

We've talked about the primitiveness of emotions and how animals (like
dogs and cats) obviously express fondness, fear, their desire for
food, their annoyance at being left alone. Chickens may be stupid, by
our measure, but to sear their beaks off and cram them into cages
where, if they don't become sick, they go whacko from not being able
to scratch and have any space at all. The ones that do not hold up in
these chicken concentration camps go to the soup vat. The heartier
ones I imagine end up in the poultry department, Boston Market and the
Colonel's. Again, their demise ends up being the best thing they
could hope (if they could hope) for.

I've read that we already have the technology to GROW chicken muscle,
independent of it being part of a live, "emoting" chicken. Does
anyone know about the progress of such technology. The inhumanity of
our current livestock processing is galling and totally paradoxical to
the otherwise growing perception that animals have rights.

So, there are a few points here that I'd like to put on the table:

* the viability of emotions expressed by animals. What is it that
makes those emotions sacrasanct, giving them the weight that promotes
being more merciful?

* the technology of employing soy meat subsitutes or growing chicken
"meat" without the chicken in a biotechnical capacity.

* the justification for maintaining a diet that has apathy, cruelty
and exploitiveness as its cornerstones (as still a majority of
westerns still do).