In My View
Recently a loopy article in the Chicago Sun-Times titled “Step aside, Big Mac! Veggie burger’s on the menu,” heralded the arrival of the meatless McVeggie at Mc Donald’s in Southern California. A leader of a Chicago vegetarian group reacted: “The main thrill for me is that they see us as a strong enough market and want to cater to us.”
Perhaps the vegetarian activist had seen another national animal protection group’s Action Alert that implored readers to purchase McVeggie burgers, promising “the lives of countless cows will be spared.”
The act of lauding the fast-food industry, or channeling vegetarians to enrich McDonald’s, the world’s number one consumer of cow and chicken flesh, defeats from the start the creation of a culture where vegetarian restaurants flourish for taking animals off the menu.
In Eugene, Ore., three out of four vegetarian restaurants went out of business in the last year. Lee Zucker, with her partner Eitan, opened the LocoMotive vegetarian restaurant in Eugene in January 1996. They say the restaurants failed because the vegetarian community doesn’t support the vegetarian restaurants. Prior to opening LocoMotive, there were plenty of vegetarian options at most restaurants in Eugene, but an upscale, all-meatless restaurant didn’t exist. Lee says she and Eitan are committed to LocMotive, and estimate the 60 percent of their patrons are not vegetarian. “Vegetarians haven’t bothered to check us out,” Lee says, “and anyone not a vegetarian stands a chance of killing some animal if they’re not eating here.”
Meat-eating is on the rise globally. In a nation where 23 million cows and other animals are slaughtered every day, why should vegetarians accelerate the expansion of fast-food restaurants built on greed, and fueled by the exploitation of nonhuman and human animals?
Also, why cooperate with injustice? Simply put, vegetarians shouldn’t promote or financially reward multinational fast-food giants, that in addition to causing widespread animal suffering,
Inside Act•ionLine, you’ll find our review of Counter, one of the restaurants listed in FoA’s Vegan Restaurant Guide to New York City. On one recent walk to Counter in the East Village, we noticed that fast-food restaurants lining the street had signs posted outside advertising veggie burgers, to snatch vegetarians off the sidewalk before they had a chance to discover Counter.
With your food purchases, ask yourself what kind of culture you’re supporting. And please put energy into supporting local vegetarian restaurants to help them survive in an environment becoming increasingly occupied by fast-food multinationals.