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News ::
04 Sep 2001

for widespread distribution...

McLibel Support Campaign / London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Rd, London, N1
9DX, UK. Tel/Fax +44-(020) 7713 1269
Email: mclibel (at) Internet
McInfo list: send blank email to or visit:
September 2001


The 17th annual Worldwide Anti-McDonald's Day will be on Tues October 16th
[UN World Food Day] - a protest against the promotion of junk food, the
unethical targeting of children, exploitation of workers, animal cruelty,
damage to the environment and the global domination of corporations over our
lives. Last year, as always there were local protests all around the globe,
involving most of the countries where there have been regular events in the
past - of particular note were the widespread and large protests throughout
Italy (eg at one store in Rome 300 demonstrators succeeded in getting it
closed for the day). But last year also included demonstrations in Hawaii,
Hong Kong, Phillipines and Colombia. As part of the global protests, there
were also some events on Oct 12th - an annual day of solidarity with
McDonald's workers.

[In 1999 we monitored where the protests took place - we heard of 425
protests and pickets in 345 towns in 23 countries: Argentina, Australia,
Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, South
Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA]. Over 3 million leaflets have now
been handed out in the UK alone since 1990 (when the McDonald's Corporation
served libel writs aiming to suppress the London Greenpeace leafletting
campaign) and it is now distributed worldwide.

Please copy the 'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflet at: [see below]

Despite its strenuous efforts, McDonald's is widely despised, and its
'reputation' - along with that of the food industry in general - continues
to sink ever further.

As well as the mass distribution of leaflets by thousands of local activists
around the world the global campaign against McDonald's has continued to
grow over the last couple of years:

- many determined residents' campaigns against new stores, including a
successful 552-day occupation of a proposed McDonald's site by residents of
Hinchley Wood, S.E. England
- mass anti-McDonald's protests by french farmers, including a 30,000-strong
- new efforts by McDonald's workers to organise together to stand up to
their bosses (eg. in the UK, France, Russia and Canada)
- protests at the Sydney 2000 Olympics against McDonald's mass use of
refrigeration chemicals linked to global warming
- an international scandal over extreme labour exploitation in China for the
production of McDonald's 'happy meal' toys
- a wave of complaints calling for a ban on their advertising to children
- protests throughout the US and elsewhere focusing on the cruelty suffered
by chickens raised for McDonald's products
- growing concern throughout Europe and the US about the threat to human
health posed by beef-related diseases (such as BSE) and genetically-modified
animal feed
- McDonald's increasingly identified by a wide range of protestors worldwide
as a symbol of modern capitalism
- recent fall in their global profits and corporate plans to close 250 stores

And there's been continuing bad publicity for the Corporation as a result of
the McLibel case, the longest in english history - including the collapse of
McDonald's censorship attempts and some damning legal rulings against the
company: exploiting children with their advertising strategy, deceiving
consumers by claiming their food is nutritious, promoting food linked to a
greater risk of heart disease, paying low wages and being responsible for
animal cruelty.

The McLibel defendants, Helen Steel and Dave Morris are currently taking the
British Government to the European Court of Human Rights over oppressive and
unfair UK libel laws.

- McLibel Support Campaign


Feel free to amend/ add own details etc


McDonald's spend well over $2 billion every year worldwide on advertising and
promotions, trying to cultivate an image of being a 'caring' and 'green'
company that is also a fun place to eat. Children are lured in (dragging
their parents behind them) with the promise of toys and other gimmicks. But
behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality - McDonald's
only interest is money, making profits from whoever and whatever they can,
just like all multinational companies. McDonald's Annual Reports talk of
'Global Domination' - they aim to open more and more stores across the globe
- but their continual worldwide expansion means more uniformity, less choice
and the undermining of local communities.

McDonald's promote their food as 'nutritious', but the reality is that it is
junk food - high in fat, sugar and salt, and low in fibre and vitamins. A
diet of this type is linked with a greater risk of heart disease, cancer,
diabetes and other diseases. Their food also contains many chemical
additives, some of which may cause ill-health, and hyperactivity in
children. Don't forget too that meat is the cause of the majority of food
poisoning incidents. In 1991 McDonald's were responsible for an outbreak of
food poisoning in the UK, in which people suffered serious kidney failure.
With modern intensive farming methods, other diseases - linked to chemical
residues or unnatural practices - have become a danger to people too (such
as BSE).

Workers in the fast food industry are paid low wages. McDonald's do not pay
overtime rates even when employees work very long hours. Pressure to keep
profits high and wage costs low results in understaffing, so staff have to
work harder and faster. As a consequence, accidents (particularly burns)
are common. The majority of employees are people who have few job options
and so are forced to accept this exploitation, and they're compelled to
'smile' too! Not surprisingly staff turnover at McDonald's is high, making
it virtually impossible to unionise and fight for a better deal, which suits
McDonald's who have always been opposed to Unions.

Vast areas of land in poor countries are used for cash crops or for cattle
ranching, or to grow grain to feed animals to be eaten in the West. This is
at the expense of local food needs. McDonald's continually promote meat
products, encouraging people to eat meat more often, which wastes more and
more food resources. 7 million tons of grain fed to livestock produces only
1 million tons of meat and by-products. On a plant-based diet and with land
shared fairly, almost every region could be self-sufficient in food.

Forests throughout the world - vital for all life - are being destroyed at
an appalling rate by multinational companies. McDonald's have at last been
forced to admit to using beef reared on ex-rainforest land, preventing its
regeneration. Also, the use of farmland by multinationals and their
suppliers forces local people to move on to other areas and cut down further
McDonald's are the world's largest user of beef. Methane emitted by cattle
reared for the beef industry is a major contributor to the 'global warming'
crisis. Modern intensive agriculture is based on the heavy use of chemicals
which are damaging to the environment.
Every year McDonald's use thousands of tons of unnecessary packaging, most
of which ends up littering our streets or polluting the land buried in
landfill sites.

The menus of the burger chains are based on the torture and murder of
millions of animals. Most are intensively farmed, with no access to fresh
air and sunshine, and no freedom of movement. Their deaths are barbaric -
'humane slaughter' is a myth. We have the choice to eat meat or not, but
the billions of animals massacred for food each year have no choice at all.

Criticism of McDonald's has come from a huge number of people and
organisations over a wide range of issues. In the mid-1980's, London
Greenpeace drew together many of those strands of criticism and called for
an annual World Day of Action against McDonald's. This takes place every
year on 16th October, with pickets and demonstrations all over the world.
McDonald's, who spend a fortune every year on advertising, tried and failed to
silence world-wide criticism by threatening legal action. Many were forced
to back down because they lacked the money to fight a case. But Helen Steel
and Dave Morris, two supporters of London Greenpeace, defended themselves in
a major UK High Court libel trial. Despite all the cards being stacked
against them, denied Legal Aid and a jury trial, Helen and Dave turned the
tables and exposed the truth by putting McDonald's business practices on
trial. Some damning judgments were made against McDonald's and protests
against the $40 billion a year fast-food giant continue to grow. It's vital
to stand up to intimidation and to defend free speech.

WHAT YOU CAN DO - Together we can fight back against the institutions and
the people in power who dominate our lives and our planet, and we can create
a better society without exploitation. Workers can and do organise together
to fight for their rights and dignity. People are increasingly aware of the
need to think seriously about the food we and our children eat. People in
poor countries are organising themselves to stand up to multinationals and
banks which dominate the world's economy. Environmental and animal rights
protests and campaigns are growing everywhere. Why not join in the struggle
for a better world. Talk to friends and family, neighbours and workmates
about these issues. Please copy and circulate this leaflet as widely as you

Further information:
See also:
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