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Take a Big Mac to lunch today

Friends on both sides of the country, who have really
nothing to do with agriculture, recently sent me a copy of a circulating email
they had received which calls for a boycott of McDonald’s Restaurant because
the Canadian division of the company is buying ground beef from South America.

The campaign, which was supposedly launched by a
London/Windsor-area Ontario
resident, also notes his alarm that all Canadian beef producers have to sign
statements at the auction mart saying they will “never feed our cattle any part

of another animal. South Americans are not required to do this…”

This may be a misguided consumer, or the whole thing may be
a hoax, but it certainly has got wide distribution. The jist of the email is to
support the Canadian beef industry, which is good, but the content contains
misinformation. There has been a ban on feeding animal protein to ruminants
since at least 2003, so I’m not sure where this “signing a paper” thing comes

McDonalds is certainly aware of this campaign, and in
checking around the industry I sourced a letter from Jeff Kroll, senior
vice-president, national supply chain, for McDonalds in Canada who says:

This email is a
hoax,” writes Kroll. “We currently source 100 percent of our beef from farms and
ranches right across Canada and have no plans today to purchase any beef from
South America. In the past we’ve purchased small quantities of beef from New
Zealand, Australia and the United States, but have always sourced the vast majority

of our beef from Canada.

“The first email on this topic originally surfaced in the
U.S. in 2002 – at that time referencing the Texas Cattle Feeders Association –
and it has resurfaced again in 2005, 2007, and again in 2008. McDonald’s
representatives in the US have spoken with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association
and they deny any association with the email. In 2009, a Canadian version
emerged that’s practically identical to the one that originated in the US.

“McDonald’s Canada remains one of the largest purchasers
of Canadian beef, and we are proud supporters of the Canadian beef industry,”
says Kroll.

Now, on the other hand, my wife may have other reasons why
she would like me to boycott McDonalds. It has something to do with getting
into what Conway Twitty called ‘those tight fitting jeans’. Not hers, mine.
Unfortunately on me it isn’t pretty or sexy.

However, I believe this is no time to be shallow. I think

for the sake of helping to support Mr. McDonald and his burger business, I have
an obligation to keep buying those Angus burgers at McDonalds. It is the least
I can do for the economy and my country.



About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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