Magazine article Insight on the News

Anti-Beef Claims Hard to Swallow

Magazine article Insight on the News

Anti-Beef Claims Hard to Swallow

Article excerpt

Jeremy Rifkin, an animal rights activist whose "Beyond Beef Campaign" seeks to cut beef consumption in half, is cynically attempting to use the food poisoning in Washington state to control America's diet.

In early February, Rifkin traveled to Seattle to prey ghoulishly on the city's grief over two children who died from eating undercooked hamburgers. He announced a lawsuit to force the federal government to place warning labels on beef products and a petition to "halt the flow of beef to consumers until all beef has been properly inspected for bacterial infection."

Rifkin boldly added that the days of cooking beef rare are over. He claims he'll force all restaurants to cook beef to 160 degrees. No doubt he hopes this will discourage the eating of beef, as many Americans prefer rare steak.

If Rifkin were serious about consumer safety, he would support beef irradiation, which is still prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration. Irradiation, a process that exposes food to radioactive elements, is a safe way to almost completely decontaminate beef (it leaves no radioactivity in food). It has been approved by most industrialized countries and is endorsed by many international health organizations. Yet Rifkin's group opposes it.

He also announced a nationwide campaign to picket McDonald's restaurants and force them to shift their menus and advertising from beef to "veggie-burgers." He claims his Beyond Beef Campaign is aimed at helping people in the Third World who are being starved so grain can be given to cattle for the rich, and at protecting the environment from cattle, which he calls "hoofed locusts."

Rifkin's claims, however, are false. No one in the Third World is being starved to fatten cattle for rich Americans. …

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