Is The Yes Men’s reBurger Idea More Ironic Than They Thought?

I recently watched The Yes Men movie (the one released in 2003 NOT The Yes Men Fix the World)  and was struck by an ironic bit of activism that was included near the end.

If you don’t know who The Yes Men are, they are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. They aim to raise awareness about problematic social issues in unique and very public ways.

The movie follows them as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world.

Their final act of activism (in the movie) was a lecture to a group of students from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh. The students were told that they were going to hear a lecture about ways to reduce starvation in third world countries by representatives of The World Trade Organization (WTO). What they got was something entirely unexpected:

What struck me is that their idea isn’t really far from the truth.

The beef that is used to make hamburgers is ‘produced’ by feeding cows waste products like chicken excrement, toxic heavy metals, antibiotics, the flesh and bones of dead cattle and even nails and small shards of glass (source: Grist.org). As the cows excrete massive amounts of their own waste (because their food has so little nutritional value) they are forced to stand in it along with thousands of pounds of waste from other cows. That waste eventually runs off into surrounding water supplies that can eventually be used to irrigate farms that grow food for human and animal consumption. I don’t really see a difference. Do you?

If you would like to learn more about The Yes Men, please visit their website.

Have you seen The Yes Men movie? Share your thoughts on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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