Impossible meats has been in the news multiple times over the years stoking publicity for their non-meat burgers. Yesterday, it was finally announced that White Castle, known for the sale of their tiny burgers, has announced that they have begun sales of the burgers. The rollout will include 140 stores in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, and the price is set at 1.99 USD.

White Castle is a 97 year old company, with branches in several states, but their food has been known more for price and its distinctive presentation than quality, with its thin patties hole punched and served in cardboard containers. Its regular beef burgers will still be sold alongside for 97 cents.

Impossible foods provides a different kind of non-meat burger. They reverse engineered the flavor and texture of a traditional beef burger, providing iron-rich heme for the blood-like viscous juice, and an amalgam of wheat, coconut, and potato for the core.

This represents a massive shift in the trajectory of American food culture. Burger King still offers a non-listed vegetarian option, but McDonalds did away with their option years ago, only to attempt to reintroduce it into select markets in Scandinavia recently. The issues of vegetarianism and societal pushes to lower individual meat consumption have become more mainstream, and there is good reason for this. People have of late become more aware of the health and environmental benefits of the switch, to say nothing of morality or religion that make it so widespread in many parts of the world. Major fast-food establishments beginning to offer newer iterations of meat-free burgers may help push vegetarianism into markets which have been traditionally resistant to the notion.

Here are a list of reasons to make the switch to vegetarianism:

  • Cost
    • Vegetarian dishes cost less to make, and significantly less to buy in restaurants
    • Healthcare costs for the treatment many chronic diseases can be reduced or avoided with a healthy vegetarian diet
  • Health
    • Antibiotic exposure from meat is persistent and some have speculated with evidence that the practice of dosing livestock with antibiotics has led to the increase in frequency of resistant bacterial strains
    • A number of health issues are clearly linked to the consumption of meat, especially red meat, including heart disease, and heart attacks, strokes, certain types of cancers, obesity, and a number of GI disorders
  • Environmental Damage Mitigation
    • The production of livestock uses significantly more resources, in terms of pesticides, water, and land per pound than comparable non-meat products. For example, production of 1kg of beef utilizes nearly 60 times the water as production of 1kg of tomatoes.
    • Livestock digestion and defecation cycles also are one of the largest contributors to atmospheric methane, and CO2, worsening the condition of greenhouse gas levels.
  • Morality
    • Animals are cogent beings, and their slaughter produces suffering that not only is cruel to the animals, but damages the people who work in these industries and cheapens the relative value of life for all humanity
    • The notion that flavor, habit, or culture provide reason for the continuation of this practice is immaterial. Modern societies around the world have outlawed cannabalism and the consumption of domesticated dogs and cats, against similar claims of the destruction of culture, or even personal desire. The line must be drawn somewhere, and as a general rule, once morality norms are fixed around an action, this is irreversible, and its violation is inexcusable. In time, this will occur for meat as well, and we will all be judged for our choices.

People often act according to the cultural norms around them without ever thinking about why, how, or whether the actions they take are just or moral. Eating meat products is another such act, and people should simply take a moment to reflect on why they continue to eat meat and not find the personal impetus to succinctly stop an act that is clearly wrong for many reasons.

Staff writer: Ari B, Here is the video that convinced me, one morning years, not only that slaughter was cruel, but that animals could recognize their own death. Having watched death since, it is more true than ever to me today, and this belief will always remain with me.


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