POLL: Should McDonald’s Go Vegan?



Calling all vegans: Do you really want to be able to eat a McDonald’s Big Mac? Best-selling vegan author Kathy Freston has created a petition on Change.org urging McDonald’s to add a plant-based sandwich option to their menu. And she’s not the only vegan celeb who wants to be able to hit the McDonald’s drive-thru: Folks like Alicia Silverstone, Russell Simmons and Ellen Degeneres have signed the petition, along with 91,000 other people.

The petition, titled “It’s Time For A Healthy, Meatless Option (Please!)”, argues that over one third of Americans already buy meat substitutes for both health and ethical reasons. So why wouldn’t McDonald’s listen to consumers and jump on the plant-based bandwagon? Just add a veggie burger to the menu and voila: There’s a little something for everyone.

As Freston told MindBodyGreen, “There’s really nothing for me—or anyone who’s looking to avoid cholesterol and saturated fat or something a little more conscientious—at McDonald’s. YET. But if they added a veggie burger or something with plant-based chicken strips, I would totally stop in.”

Now, I don’t have any issue with the concept of putting a veggie burger on the menu: Why wouldn’t the king of fast-food chains want to appeal to more consumers? Duh. What I do have a problem with is Freston’s pitch: She seems to be making the leap that any plant-based item (even an over-processed, sodium-loaded veggie burger) is automatically a healthy food option. But we all know this isn’t true. I mean, as a non-meat-eater myself, I love a good piece of veggie sausage. It is seriously addictive stuff. But I also know that my beloved Morningstar sausage links are NOT a healthy choice. So isn’t selling a meatless burger as presumptively “healthy” a bit misleading to consumers?

After all, given McDonald’s track record—remember when they ruined oatmeal? Their “wholesome” breakfast option was loaded with more sugar than a Snickers bar!—it’s pretty safe to assume that even if they did add a meat-free sandwich option to their menu, it probably wouldn’t make dieticians particularly happy.

Then there’s the whole ethics argument. Freston claims that many Americans are opting for meat substitutes to satisfy their ethical concerns. So why on Earth would these people, presumably concerned with the state of the meat industry, support a corporation with a sordid history when it comes to the humane treatment of animals? Isn’t that sort of, um, counter-intuitive?

So while I don’t necessarily disagree with Freston’s want for a vegan option at McDonald’s, I have to ask: Would any true-blue health-conscious vegans actually want to eat it? Share your thoughts below.

POLL: Would you eat at McDonald’s if there was a meat-free sandwich on the menu?

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  • GreatSkeptic

    No, McDonalds should not go vegan. As a vegan, I love to have options at restaraunts. But being a vegan is not just about diet, but morality. Patronizing McDonalds to get your vegan burger is putting money into the pockets of one of the largest animal exploiters in the world. You have just as much blood on your hands eating a vegan burger at McDonalds as you would eating a Big Mac at McDonalds. Indeed, McDonalds will be able to claim victory in its new vegan option and will be admired for its “thoughtful compromise” when it should be criticized for its abuses of rights–both human and non-human.

  • Chris Dietrich

    I am a vegan and believe this would be great. I probably wouldn’t buy many, but maybe some meat eaters would try it.

  • SM

    I think this is great. For those vegans who object, let me say that corporations like McDonalds are in the business of making money and not abusing animals per se. Their sole motivation is profit. They allow animal abuses or at best indifferent to it as they are only concerned about the bottom line. So, if they can make money selling a vegan product, they will, as long as there is enough demand. The more people eat their vegan products, the less the number of animals killed or exploited. Another subtle benefit is that vast network of McDonald’s offer an instant distribution channel for vegan products and exposes non-vegans to healthy alternatives. It expands the reach of vegan choices to those who otherwise may not get it or even think about it. It is a win-win for vegans and animals. So, why not?

  • Vii

    When you purchase a vegan item from a corporation that also sells animal products it shows the corporation that veganism is profitable. Mcdonalds is unlikely to go out of business anytime soon but as consumers we have the power to promote products with our wallet. Buying a veggie burger from mcdonalds shows companies that there is a market for veggie burgers. This is a step closer to globalized veganism. I agree with those saying it still supports a corrupt business but I think supporting this movement will do more good than harm in the long run.

  • Jim Corcoran

    I’ve been vegan for 25 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees).

    Here’s a link for everyone who wants to join the revolution: 21-Day Vegan Kickstart http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

  • Nairi Stepanian

    I would not eat there BUT I want them to have an option for those who eat there. Yes! Go vegan! And I say go 100% vegan!