In their efforts to condemn one food or another, dietary do-gooders make all sorts of iffy claims. Anti-meat activists demonize cheeseburgers by branding them as cancer-causing Earth destroyers. The fat police blame restaurants for children’s health problems. In the real world, of course, evidence shows that kids aren’t getting enough exercise, vegetarian diets won’t make you cancer-proof, and American beef is much “greener” than PETA and company would like you to know. But what if anti-meat activists get their wish? A Greensboro News & Record columnist took a shot at the answer this week in an entertaining piece of far-too-realistic fiction.
 “In the near future,” writes Doug Clark, “maybe”…

A craving for a burger hit me, so I stopped at a fast-food place.
The menu board gave me a jolt. A quarter-pound cheeseburger, $8.95? …
"It’s the meat tax," he said. "It just went into effect this week." …
I glanced around.
"There are no other customers."
He surveyed the empty dining area.
"Oh, you’re right. I guess I’m not used to that yet."
"You should get used to it," I said. "Americans aren’t going to put up with this. … If the government thinks it’s going to force me to eat what it wants me to eat and drink what it wants me to drink, it’s got another thing coming. I won’t be treated like a back-alley junkie, or worse, a filthy cigarette smoker just for enjoying a patty of charbroiled ground beef once in a while. Those power-hungry do-gooders will have to pry my burger out of my cold, greasy fingers!"
I glared at the cowering young lady behind the cash register.
"Give me the biggest cheeseburger you have," I ordered, "and I don’t care what it costs." …
"Yes, sir. But first I have to ask you to step onto that scale."
She motioned to the floor next to me.
"That scale? Why?"
She swallowed hard before replying:
"If you’re overweight, I’ll have to add the fat tax."

Read the unabridged version here.