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Director has beef with burgers

Fast Food Nation director Richard Linklater has a beef with burgers, writes Barrett Newkirk.

RICHARD LINKLATER, the director of Fast Food Nation, has been a vegetarian for most of his adult life.

He was in his early 20s when he decided to forgo meat, inspired by Animal Liberation, the influential 1975 book by the Australian philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer.

He still relies on the work of Singer and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser to help him make decisions about his diet. "I've never been a militant about it," says the 46-year-old Texan-born director whose movies include Dazed and Confused, Waking Life and Before Sunset. "People who've known me for a long time know I don't eat meat, but I don't make a big deal about it. I'm not a health nut, I just don't want to support that industry."

A dramatisation of Schlosser's non-fiction book, Fast Food Nation stars Greg Kinnear as a burger executive sent to investigate findings that cow manure has turned up in the company's product. The film looks at the impact of the meat-packing and fast-food industries on a small Colorado town where illegal Mexican immigrants risk injury at packing plants and locals toil for the minimum wage at the fictional fast-food chain, Mickeys.

The film's most confronting scenes were filmed in a slaughterhouse. The onscreen carnage would "heavily reduce post-screening burger consumption, if not win a flood of converts to vegetarianism" wrote Variety's critic.

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