A meatless McDonald's? Yes, that's right. The iconic fast food chain which has spread around the world in a rash of yellow and red (nearly 33,000 restaurants and counting) now plans to open its first-ever Golden Arches serving absolutely no meat.
Could it be that McDonald's finally realises its contribution to the immense damage cattle ranching is doing to the Amazon rainforest? Or that it's trying to reverse the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the US? Or maybe McDonald's finally understands that meat is a major contributor to global warming, and wants to do something about it?
Sadly, not quite.
Hindu hamburgers are a nonstarter
Here are the facts: 80% of India's 1.2 billion people are Hindu, whose religion discourages all meat and holds cows as sacred. Another 13% are Muslim, who consider pork to be unclean. So how does a savvy international fast food behemoth whose mainstay is (low quality) meat claim its share of that massive potential market?
Voila! Vegetarian McDonald's restaurants placed at two of India's most sacred places. One is planned 200 metres (656 feet) from the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. The other is slated for the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, India's second-busiest pilgrimage site.
But Rajesh Kumar Maini, a McDonald's spokesman, is optimistic. "We plan to nearly double the number of outlets to 500 plus within the next three years," he told Agence France Presse.
Come on, really?
Is this really what the world needs – more McDonald's? We think not. Jaunted.com has drawn up a list of other inappropriately placed Golden Arches locations. Here are a couple of particularly egregious examples in (previously) scenic locations:
In Yangshuo, China, an area famous for its unique karst landscape ...
In the Negev Desert in Israel, disrupting the tranquility of the desert...
You tell us
Where else has Ronald parked where people would rather he hadn't? Weigh in – or send us pictures – in the comments below, and share with everyone you know.
Sources: Greenpeace, US National Library of Medicine, Scientific American, Straight Dope, Telegraph, Financial Times, Jaunted.com