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by tim Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2001 at 8:52 PM
info@mcspotlight.org 0044 207 713 1269


for widespread distribution...

McLibel Support Campaign / London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Rd, London, N1

9DX, UK. Tel/Fax +44-(020) 7713 1269

Email: mclibel@globalnet.co.uk Internet info:www.mcspotlight.org

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:

www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/current/resources.html [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 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 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: www.mcspotlight.org

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