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All Across America, Meat Billboards Ruled The Road

With the birth of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s, America was on its way to becoming a nation of long-distance drivers.

Add an emerging cattle industry, technological advances in truck refrigeration and the spread of meat packaging plants from major cities to rural areas, and you've got a recipe for getting more meat to more people. (See more meat facts in charts and graphs here.)

Although outdoor advertising has been around since ancient Egypt, it really took off after the highway system was built. And advertisers thought, what better way to get to the captive audience in a car to pull over than to tempt them with giant pictures of meat?

Today, some billboards emit the distinctive odor of grilled meat, and there are billboards depicting the potential health effects of meat consumption. But here's a collection of billboards that helped fuel America's love affair with meat way back in the 20th Century.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

April Fulton is a former editor with NPR's Science Desk and a contributor to The Salt, NPR's Food Blog.

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