Fast Food and Animal Factories
Fueling the Epidemics

Fast food was made possible by sheer economies of scale of the factory farm system.  

The explosive growth of “drive-through” windows, our eat-on-the-run lifestyle, and junk food establishments on every corner spawned epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  

If that sounds like too strong a statement, maybe it is but consider the timing.

The growth of factory farms, the proliferation of Mickey Dee's, Kentucky Fried crap, Booger King, et all, and the arrival of the big three in modern epidemics just named, all show a pretty clear chain reaction; a series of cause and effects.  

Author Eric Schlosser has documented very well what the fast food industry has done to us and our country.  Click on the image of his landmark book, Fast Food Nation, for a review and opportunity to own it.

Cause and Effects

Live Superfoods - The Raw Superfoods Superstore

The first (cheap beef and chicken) led to the second (fast food industry) which led to the third (obesity and diabetes) but before any of it could occur; our government had to put it all in motion with subsidized corn. 

Want to place the blame on a specific person?  That would be Mr. Earl Butz; more on him later.

Is there any doubt that there is an obesity and a diabetes epidemic in the U.S. and spreading throughout the world? Is it a coincidence that the rise in obesity and diabetes corresponds with the beginning of government subsidies of corn and the rise of confined animal feeding operations, CAFOs?
Is it a coincidence that the rise of the fast food industry, or junk food industry, corresponds with the rise of CAFOs?

Is it a coincidence that the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria corresponds with the increasing use of antibiotics in captive animal feeding operations? 

It is very difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship since most of the evidence is circumstantial but the linkage is compelling.

The first thing a good forensic scientist would do is look at the timelines and draw parallels to the questions posed above.

The Starting Point

The early seventies seem to be pivotal point for the rise of corn and CAFOs and the decline of the health of the nation.

Corn, Corn and More Corn

Since our thesis is that corn is the fuel for everything that is wrong with mass produced animal flesh and dairy products as well as the driver of most of our chronic health issues today, we will draw heavily on research done on the evolution of corn by Michael Pollan and reported in his book, Omnivore's Dilemma.  Click on the book's image below to review the book and make it part of your library.

King Corn

Nixon's secretary of agriculture, Earl Butz, in 1973 got through a farm bill that undid the New Deal practices of price supports though loans, government grain purchases and idling land by paying farmers "not to plant".

Earl L. Butz, Nixon/Ford Sec. of Agriculture

These practices were replaced with a new system of direct payments to farmers encouraging them to plant more.  By the 1980's the government was subsidizing every bushel of corn produced and corn production took off.

Photo:  Earl Butz, Sec. of Agriculture under Nixon/Ford

Butz was a piece of work.  He is credited with starting the rise of industrial-sized corn farming, the demise of the small farm and the infusion of corn into every aspect of our current diet. 

His message to the country's farmers was to get big or get out but it was his racist, foul mouth that forced his resignation in October 1976.  Good riddance!

Go for the Grass, not Corn!

On a more pleasant subject, if one wanted to avoid factory farmed beef or pork or even turkeys, and was looking for healthy, pastured, grass fed meat, then look no farther than Snake River Farms in the link below.  Their offerings are first rate and delivered to your door.

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Evolution of the Dietary Disaster

Looking at the timeline below, we see that the fast food business started very early, 1921 to be exact, with the first White Castle. 

From then until the early 1970's, the industry was characterized by many new entries; Kentucky Fried, McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Sonic, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway and Wendy's. 

It wasn't until the early to mid-70s that the growth of fast food really took off.  In 1972 McDonald's passed the $1 billion mark in sales and hit $3 billion by 1976.

Let's see, when was it that corn started being subsidized by the government...1973; and by 1980 every bushel of corn grown was subsidized.  Explosive growth in corn production meant more beef in the feedlots and more burgers on the grill. 

It also meant more chickens in Tyson's and Perdue's battery cages to supply more KFC's.

Do we believe in coincidences?  The timing seems to point to the government being behind the explosion of cheap, fast food and by extension, behind the explosion in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Growth of the Fast Food Industry

Just for the fun of it (and for referencing the time line) the list below is included to show the evolution of the fast food industry.

  • 1921 White Castle, Wichita, KS
  • 1926 First small-scale chicken CAFO
  • 1930 Kentucky Fried Chicken, Corbin, KY
  • 1930's Perdue and Tyson get into large-scale chicken farms
  • 1937 McDonalds, San Bernardino, CA
  • 1940's Antibiotics and sulfa drugs come to factory farms
  • 1946 Genetic engineering enters the chicken industry;
  • 1948 First drive through window
  • 1950 Dunkin Donuts, Quincy, MA
  • 1950's two distinct engineered chickens come on the scene; one for meat (broilers), one for eggs (layers)
  • 1951 Jack in the Box born in San Diego
  • 1952 Kentucky Fried Chicken becomes KFC
  • 1953 Burger King, Jacksonville, FL
  • 1953 Sonic Drive In, Shawnee, OK
  • 1956 Interstate Highway System launched
  • 1958 Pizza Hut, Wichita, KS
  • 1960's Total vertical integration achieved in factory farms
  • 1961 Ray Kroc buys McDonald's for $2.7mil
  • 1962 Taco Bell, Downey, CA
  • 1963 Ronald McDonald appears on the scene
  • 1965 Subway, Bridgeport, CT
  • 1968 McDonald's Growth, opened its 1,000th restaurant,
  • 1969 Wendy's, Columbus, OH
  • 1972 McDonald's passed 1 billion in annual sales
  • 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and gas rationing
  • 1975 First McDonald's drive-thru window
  • 1976 McDonalds hits 20 billion burgers; sales hit $3 bil.
  • 1991 Burger King starts Kids Club
  • 1992 Worst ever E-coli outbreak hits Jack in the Box
  • 1993 Fast food advertising enters the schools
  • 1996 Disney parks get McDonald's
  • 2008 McDonald's goes Worldwide
  • We will keep the list of itemized dates and events above handy for reference and add to it as new milestones are reached.

    Having seen the timeline, here are 55 facts about our fast food industry from Random Facts. For your enlightenment and hopefully an incentive to improve ones eating habits.

    Moving on, next we will examine the growth of the CAFO more accurately referred to as the factory farm.

    In the following pages, the cause and effect list above will be expanded as each new piece of circumstantial evidence is presented.

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