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Slow Down Fast Food With a Veggie Burger

April 20, 2002

It's a shame that Rich Ganis' "Burger King Uncowed" (Opinion, April 14) presented the "BK Veggie" in such a negative light, because the fate of millions of animals depends on this product's success. In the article I was quoted as cautioning that if the BK Veggie flops, "it might set the growth of the movement [to protect animals] back 10 years."

Ganis dismissed my assertion by saying, "That's an awful lot to hang on the fate of one sandwich. The truth is, Burger King's new entree will do little to keep animals out of the slaughterhouse."

Ganis' claim that the BK Veggie won't significantly reduce slaughter is astonishing and utterly wrong. As a longtime vegan, I'm no fan of Burger King. But the BK Veggie is of the utmost importance to farm animals and could stop more animal slaughter than any food product in history. Yet Ganis pooh-poohs this product because it's not perfect nutritionally, environmentally or socially.

The BK Veggie isn't perfect, but in each of these spheres the product offers clear-cut advantages over its meat-based counterparts. If the BK Veggie fails, it will torpedo any chance that McDonald's or Wendy's will introduce a similar product. The fate of countless animals is riding on its success.

Erik Marcus

Newfield, N.Y.

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Thoughtful discussion of the health, environmental and humane implications of Burger King's veggie burger is much welcomed. Ganis' piece could be much improved by the simple inclusion of comparative nutrition data between the veggie burger and the cow-based burger. His criticisms of corporate food production are well-founded. However, it may be unwise to allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.

Nancy L. Harrison MD

San Diego

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