Time to Decide: McPlant or Pandemic?

Is this world going to choose the McPlant or the Pandemic? It’s a question that faces every single consumer. Each choice we make, especially when it comes to food, is far beyond a mere personal choice. It is a political, moral, environmental and life or death choice. So, how are we doing?

The McPlant Option

The McPlant is a meatless burger that will be added to McDonald’s menus in 2021.  McDonald’s International President even said, “In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches.” The McPlant world has a lower carbon footprint, less extreme weather, lower health care costs, fewer heart attacks and cancer cases, much less world hunger, a lot less cruelty and a lot more forests and wildlife.

The Pandemic Option

Well, we know how that goes. We’re all stuck in it right now. The mainstream news media downplays the fact that this is a zoonotic disease that jumped from animals to humans and first cropped up amongst those who’d been at a retail slaughter market in China. It came from human abuse and consumption of animals. And, the next pandemic could be far worse if it starts in a factory farm where animals are kept in filthy, crowded conditions and bred to be genetically similar, allowing it to spread faster and more virulently. In fact, a COVID mutation recently broke out in the mink farms of Denmark, resulting in the mass slaughter of 17 million mink. A vegan world would be a virtually pandemic-free world. No mad cow, swine flu or avian flu… or mink mutations.

 

McDonald's McPlant burger

We know what the pandemic option feels like. We are all stuck in it right now. We can avoid future pandemics by kicking meat.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

Thank you Charles Dickens. This perfectly describes what’s happening today when it comes to getting out of animal agriculture and avoiding the next pandemic. We are making huge strides, breakthrough victories… and also losing the battle simultaneously. How is this possible?

The Best of Times Part

The McPlant is a massive breakthrough for the plant-based movement because McDonald’s is the world’s most iconic fast food brand and was viewed as the big holdout that seemed most resistant to embracing the meatless trend, coming in behind Burger King, White Castle, Denny’s and many others.

The Worst of Times Part

Unfortunately, McDonald’s simultaneously announced it was also launching a new crispy chicken sandwich in 2021.  When it comes to meat and dairy, America’s corporate executives keep trying to have it both ways, which encourages Americans to believe they can too. A Vox article summarized this conflicted attitude neatly. “While very few Americans claimed to increase their meat consumption last year and nearly one in four claims that they cut back, overall meat consumption in the U.S. increased. While not all statistics are available yet, it looks like a little less than 10 billion land animals will be killed for consumption, more than in 2018 — which was itself more than in 2017.”

A Chicken is Not a Vegetable

Alas, some think moving away from meat means eating more chicken. This is what you might call an alternative fact, aka…  a lie. Because these intelligent and highly social individuals called chickens are smaller in size, switching to the consumption of chicken actually results in more animals dying.

Half Measures Avail Us Nothing

In the field of addiction there are a lot of brilliant catchphrases. One of my faves is: half measures avail us nothing. Kicking the self-destructive addiction called meat and dairy is going to be very similar to kicking other self-destructive habits like smoking, drinking and drugging. The most effective way is to go cold turkey, which we vegans refer to as Cold Tofurky. As a recovering alcoholic with 25 years of sobriety, I often describe addiction as grappling with a substance with which you cannot successfully negotiate. I tried only drinking wine, only drinking on the weekend, only drinking after 6pm. What ended up happening is I only drank on days ending in y. In other words, I just kept on drinking. Until, I just stopped.. cold stop… flat out stop. That happened when I hit bottom. My bottom was making an ass of myself at a Hollywood party.

When It Comes to Meat, Is This Pandemic Our Bottom?

Or… do we need to sink lower? Do we need a pandemic as virulent as the plague of the Middle Ages that wiped out more than a third of Europe’s population? Here’s another addiction phrase I love. The only thing that has to change is everything. When you finally hit bottom and just stop eating animals, everything will change. We will actually go from the worst of times to the best of times. So, what are you waiting for?