: 1. Meat eating is good for you.
Not especially. The best you can say about it is that meat contains some useful minerals and is not especially bad for you in moderation.
In excess, it's very bad for you - and the normal modern Western level of meat consumption is excessive.
: Look at the great cuisines of the world; French, Italian, Chinese: what do they all have in common? They are all based around meat in its many wonderful forms, and have been for as long as anyone can remember.
One: Chinese food is based around rice, not meat. In China, meat was (until very recently) the exclusive property of the rich, leaving the poor with "rice-and-vegetable" dishes (like "monk's vegetables"). Chinese food with meat in is generally the food of the Chinese elite and has always been.
You omitted to mention Indian food, by the way. Was that because it didn't fit your model?
As for Italian food, the staple is wheat as much as anything else, ditto French food. Remember that meat has played a much lesser part in the history of food than it does now - we currently eat food that previously would have been considered fit only for nobility.
: Surely they can’t all be wrong.
A rather dangerous statement, since you could apply it equally well to genocide, on the basis that a lot of countries have done it at one point or another.
: 2. McDonald's animals are well cared-for.
This just isn't true. You can read Clare Druce's witness statement or the court transcripts on that subject.
Indeed, one of the judge's findings was that McDonald's were "culpably cruel to animals"
: Animals such as cows and pigs would often suffer in the wild a lot more than in captivity. They would be continually on the lookout for predators and suffer from ongoing food and water shortages. McDonald’s, as a large organisation, has probably made mistakes in regard to the treatment of animals, but so has any large abbatoir or farm.
Firstly, "food" animals like pigs and cows would not exist in such numbers without the McD's fed desire for them. They wouldn't be bred intensively to the point of needing humans to survive. Have you ever seen a wild cow? They are a) a lot thinner and fitter and b) don't seem to suffer illnesses as much as domestic stock. (The fact that they don't have to eat recycled animal tissue is beside the point.)
: 3. McDonald's provides good, cheap food.
"Good"? To quote a McDonald's internal company memo from the trial:
"McDonald's should attempt to deflect the basic negative thrust of our critics.....How do we do this? By talking 'moderation and balance'. We
can't really address or defend nutrition. We don't sell nutrition and people don't come to McDonald's for nutrition".
As for cheap, cheap to you maybe, but not to the people and environments McDonald's exploit worldwide.
: Look at the basic common food of almost any major culture, and you will find more or less the same basic formula that you find in a McDonald’s hamburger: Carbohydrates, meat, fat and seasonings.
Well, look at a typical meal in India, which is one of the world's major (and growing) cultures. You will find little or no meat in it. Yet the people of India don't suffer for their lack of meat - in fact, Indian food is pretty healthy by and large.
: As regards health and hygiene; go into the kitchen of even the fanciest restaurant (even a vegan one), and you will occasionally see unhygienic food practices.
70% of food poisoning incidents are directly traceable to meat. I rest my case.