Image courtesy of SteFou! via Creative Commons.

Ten years ago, Eric Schlosser’s seminal book, Fast Food Nation, was published, critiquing fast food corporations for their human rights, health, environmental and animal welfare violations. A decade later, what, if anything, has changed? Schlosser reflects in a recent essay.

In our two-tiered food society, with the slender, fit well-off people eating healthier, non-factory-farmed, organic and fresh food, and the poor living in food deserts where ill-health and obesity from fast food is epidemic, what can we do to earn the hope Schlosser feels for our food future? While I almost always argue that humane education is the key to systemic change, in this case there’s another equally important key: campaign finance and advertising reform and an end to big ag subsidies. As long as our tax dollars subsidize meat and dairy, fast food will remain cheap. As long as it is legal to advertise fast food (which may kill as many people annually as tobacco products), we’ll remain a brainwashed society addicted to its salty, fatty, inexpensive convenience. And as long as our school cafeterias fall under the purview of fast food giants, we will raise another generation with unhealthy eating habits that are hard to break.

It’s up to us humane educators to bring critical thinking and accurate information about our food choices to our students, and it’s up to all of us to take this knowledge and challenge the entrenched systems which perpetuate such an unhealthy, destructive, and cruel diet.

For a humane & healthy world,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach

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