THE BLOG

Paul McCartney - Here's An Idea!

07/03/2013 17:48 GMT | Updated 07/05/2013 10:12 BST

In 'My Life as a Vegetarian' ( Huffington Post blog, January 25) you described how you and Linda used to dream that one day vegetarian selections would be on the menu at motorway stops

Here's another big hope: that one day McCartney's will compete with McDonald's - and win.

With all the furore surrounding the horse meat scandal it seems there is no better time the current advertising campaign promoting the new Linda McCartney range. But will it work?

Animal welfarists try hard to show that the mass production of farm animals means a life sentence of terrible cruelty. Facts and figures make clear that at least 70% of the world's soya crop and as much as one third of the world's fish harvest are used to feed farm animals.

The reality is that most of us care not one iota. When we choose our food all that seems to matter is that it is cheap, easy to prepare and has a familiar taste and texture.

Could a plant-based menu compete with one based on animals - particularly now that farm animals are mass-produced, bred and reared so they grow faster than vegetables - chickens in 6 weeks, ducks in 7? Even feedlot cattle - fed unnatural fast-fattening diets - are ready for slaughter in 12 months, half the time it takes their naturally reared counterparts to reach their slaughter weight.

But it takes about 4 kilos of animal feed to make 1 kilo of pig meat; 3 kilos to make 1 kilo of farmed salmon; and between 7 and 9 kilos to make 1 kilo of lamb or beef. With the world's population predicted to reach 9.2 billion in 2050 (from today's 7 billion) and the number of animals reared in factory conditions forecast to reach 120 billion (double today's number) surely we need to change our eating culture very soon?

If the new advertising campaign for the latest Linda McCartney range persuades people to try the company's new menus they will see - if they don't know already - that vegetarian food can be as good as meat.

But why not go a huge leap further: a veggie burger chain? And change the world's eating habits even more dramatically - just as McDonald's changed them many decades ago. After all the foundations are in place: a vegetarian brand, known worldwide, that has shown more people than any other that food without meat can be just as good. That is some legacy!

Your dream came true. Now motorway service stops serve vegetarian meals and even fast-food outlets offer vegetarian meals. In India half the menu in McDonald's' 271 outlets is vegetarian - and in Amritsar (the Sikh holy city) vegetarian-only.

But a chain of McCartney's? What a memorial to Linda's pioneering spirit that would be!