McLIBEL TEXT: OF INTEREST TO AR, VEGAN-PEOPLES...and others...
Article: 9212 of rec.food.veg.cooking
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Subject: McLIBEL TEXT: OF INTEREST TO AR, VEGAN-PEOPLES...and others...
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 23:49:25 GMT
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THE McLIBEL TRIAL / FULL TEXT OF THE McLIBEL PAMPHLET
Please copy & distribute widely.
Help give McDonald's a well-deserved kick between the golden arches.
Read the following message and learn about the story the
world needs to know, but has been too silent (dare we say censored?)
First, an quick explanation of the historic McLibel trial,
and then the full text of the London Greenpeace pamphlet
that started it all.
While typing in the pamphlet text, I stayed as true
to it as possible, so Americans may notice an unusual turn
of phrase (chips = French fries) or spelling.
But the message remains loud and clear.
-- Larry Nocella (firstname.lastname@example.org -- or -- email@example.com)
Thanks to David Briars of the US McLibel Support
Campaign, POB 62, Craftsbury, VT 05826-0062
A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE McLIBEL TRIAL
The McLibel Trial is a story the world needs to know.
Five members of London Greenpeace were sued for libel and accused
of distributing a pamphlet called: "What's Wrong With McDonald's --
Everything They Don't Want You to Know."
Three reluctantly apologized, rather than risk losing everything
fighting a vicious team of libel lawyers hired by McDonald's,
but two, Helen Steel and David Morris, decided to fight.
In British libel suits, the accused must not only prove their
statements were not malicious, but actually true. Since
the pamphlet was based in fact, Steel and Morris have kept
McDonald's in court, proving each statement. The McLibel
trial is now the longest running libel trial in British
history. This is most impressive since Steel and Morris
are representing themselves, and at the start of the trial,
were on welfare (in Britain, "income support.")
(adapted from: Animals' Agenda magazine Vol. 15, No. 3)
The trial is still going on. This is a great
story -- the little guys taking on the giant machine,
and not only holding their own, but winning. Since so
many people support McDonald's, you might at first think,
"This is big news!" But you'd be wrong. This isn't big
news, because if you look at every news outlet, chances
are they run ads for McDonald's. Get the picture?
Maybe you're wondering about the truth of this pamphlet.
Or you're suffering from "corpse-eater denial." Either way,
if you have doubts, then ponder this: Why is a
mega-multi-national corporation, over the course of two
years, still unable to defeat two unemployed people
representing themselves in a court of law? This is the
strongest evidence that the pamphlet has plenty of
truth to it.
Think about it.
Full text of the 1985/86 McLibel pamphlet that McDonald's is
trying so hard to surpress....
WHAT'S WRONG WITH McDONALD'S?
Everything they don't want you to know.
This leaflet is asking you to think for a moment about
what lies behind McDonald's clean, bright, image. It's got
a lot to hide.
"At McDonald's, we've got time for you," goes the jingle.
Why then do they design the service so that you're in and
out as soon as possible? Why is it so difficult to relax
in a McDonald's? Why do you feel hungry again so soon
after eating a Big Mac?
We're all subject to the pressures of stupid advertising,
consumerist hype, and the fast pace of big city life -- but
it doesn't take any special intelligence to start asking
questions about McDonald's and to realise that something
is seriously wrong.
The more you find out about McDonald's processed food,
the less attractive it becomes, as this leaflet will show.
The truth about hamburgers is enough to put you off
them for life.
What's the connection between McDonald's and
starvation in the "third world?"
There's no point feeling guilty about eating while
watching starving African children on TV. If you do send
money to Band Aid, or shop at Oxfam, etc. that's morally
good but politically useless. It shifts the blame from
governments and does nothing to challenge the power of
Hungry for Dollars
McDonald's is one of several giant corporations with
investments in tracts of land in poor countries, sold to
them by the dollar-hungry rulers (often military) and
privileged elites, evicting the small farmers that live
there growing food for their own people.
The power of the US dollar means that in order to
buy technology and manufactured goods, poor countries
are trapped into producing more and more food for
export to the States. Out of 40 of the world's poorest
countries, 36 export food to the USA -- the wealthiest.
Some "Third World" countries, where most children
are undernourished, are actually exporting their staple
crops as animal feed -- i.e. to fatten cattle for turning
into burgers in the "First World." Millions of acres of
the best farmland in poor countries are being used for
our benefit -- for tea, coffee, tobacco, etc. -- while
people there are starving. McDonald's is directly involved
in this economic imperialism, which keeps most black
people poor while many whites grow fat.
(Picture of woman with a child, and a bowl)
Caption: A typical image of "Third World" poverty -- the
kind often used by charities to get "compassion money." This
diverts attention from one cause: exploitation by
multinationals like McDonald's.
Gross Misuse of Resources
Grain is fed to cattle in South American countries to
produce the meat in McDonald's hamburgers. Cattle consumer
10 times the amount of grain and soy that humans do:
one calorie of beef demands ten calories of grain. Of the
145 million tons of grain and soy fed to livestock, only
21 million tons of meat and by-products are used. The waste
is 124 million tons per year at a value of 20 billion US
dollars. It has been calculated that this sum would feed,
clothe and house the world's entire population for one year.
Fifty Acres Every Minute
Every year an area of rainforest the size of Britain is
cut down or defoliated, and burnt. Globally, one billion
people depend on water flowing from these forests, which
soak up rain and release it gradually. The disaster in
Ethiopia and Sudan is at least partly due to uncontrolled
deforestation. In Amazonia -- where there are now about
100,000 beef ranches -- torrential rains sweep down through
the treeless valleys , eroding the land and washing away
the soil. The bare earth, baked by the tropical sun, becomes
useless for agriculture. It has been estimated that this
destruction causes at least one species of animal, plant or
insect to become extinct every few hours.
Why is it wrong for McDonald's to destroy rainforests?
Around the Equator there is a lush green belt of
incredibly beautiful tropical forest, untouched by human
development for one hundred million years, supporting about
half of all Earth's life-forms, including some 30,000 plant
species, and producing a major part of the planet's crucial
supply of oxygen.
Pet food & litter
McDonald's and Burger King are two of the many US
corporations using lethal poisons to destroy vast areas of
Central American rainforest to create grazing pastures for
cattle to be sent back to the States as burgers and pet food,
and to provide fast-food packaging materials. (Don't be fooled
by McDonald's saying they use recycled paper: only a tiny
percent of it is. The truth is tit takes 800 square miles
of forest just to keep them supplied with paper for one year.
(Tons of this end up littering the cities of 'developed'
Not only are McDonald's and many other corporations
contributing to a major ecological catastrophe, they are
forcing the tribal people in the rainforests off their
ancestral territories where they have lived peacefully, without
damaging their environment, for thousands of years. This
is a typical example of the arrogance and viciousness of
multinational companies in their endless search for more
and more profit.
It's no exaggeration to say that when you bite into a
Big Mac, you're helping the McDonald's empire to wreck
What's so unhealthy about McDonald's food?
McDonald's try to show in their "Nutrition Guide" (which
is full of impressive-looking but really quite irrelevant
facts & figures) that mass-produced hamburgers, chips,
colas, milkshakes, etc., are a useful and nutritious part
of any diet.
What they don't make clear is that a diet high in fat,
sugar, animal products and salt (sodium), and low in fibre,
vitamins and minerals -- which describes an average McDonald's
meal -- is linked with cancers of the breast and bowel, and
heart disease. This is accepted medical fact, not a cranky
theory. Every year in Britain, heart disease alone causes
about 180,000 deaths.
Fast = Junk
Even if they like eating them, most people recognise
that process burgers and synthetic chips, served up in paper
and plastic containers, is junk-food. McDonald's prefer the
name "fast-food." This is not just because it is manufactured
and served up as quickly as possible -- it has to be eaten
quickly too. It's sign of the junk quality of Big Macs that
people actually hold competitions to see who can eat one in
the shortest time.
Paying for the habit
Chewing is essential for good health, as it promotes the flow
of digestive juices which break down the food and send
nutrients into the blood. McDonald's food is so lacking in
bulk it is hardly possible to chew it. Even their own figures
show that a "quarter-pounder" is 48% water. This sort of fake
food encourages over-eating, and the high sugar and sodium
content can make people develop a kind of addiction -- a
'craving.' That means more profit for McDonald's, but
constipation, clogged arteries and hear attacks for
Picture: A cow and a human stuck in a burger.
The cow says: If the slaughterhouse doesn't get you...
The human says: The junk food will!
Getting the Chemistry Right
McDonald's stripey staff uniforms, flashy lighting, bright
plastic decor, "Happy Hats" and muzak, are all part of the
gimmicky dressing-up of low-quality food which has been designed
down to the last detail to look and feel and taste exactly
the same in any outlet anywhere in the world. To achieve this
artificial conformity, McDonald's require that their "fresh
lettuce leaf," for example, is treated with twelve different
chemicals just to keep it the right colour at the right crispness
for the right length of time. It might as well be a bit of plastic.
How do McDonald's deliberately exploit children?
Nearly all McDonald's advertising is aimed at children.
Although the Ronald McDonald 'personality' is not as
popular as their market researchers expected (probably
because it is totally unoriginal), thousands of young
children now think of burgers and chips every time they
see a clown with orange hair.
The Normality Trap
No parent needs to be told how difficult it is to
distract a child from insisting on a certain type of
food or treat. Advertisements portraying McDonald's as
a happy, circus-like place where burgers and chips are
provided for everybody at any hour of the day (and late at
night), traps children into thinking they aren't 'normal'
if they don't go there too. Appetite, necessity and -- above
all -- money, never enter the 'innocent' world of
Few children are slow to spot the gaudy and yellow
standardised frontages in shopping centres and high
streets throughout the country. McDonald's know exactly
what kind of pressure this puts on people looking after
children. It's hard not to give in to this 'convenient' way
of keeping children 'happy,' even if you haven't got much
money and you try to avoid junk-food.
As if to compensate for the inadequacy of their products,
McDonald's promote the consumption of meals as a 'fun event.'
This turns the act of eating into a performance, with the
'glamour' of being in a McDonald's ('Just like it is in the
ads!') reducing the food itself to the status of a prop.
Not a lot of children are interested in nutrition, and
even if they were, all the gimmicks and routines with paper
hats and straws and balloons hide the fact that the food
they're seduced into eating is at best mediocre, at worst
poisonous -- and their parents know it's not even cheap.
Ronald's Dirty Secret
Once told the grim story about how hamburgers are made,
children are far less ready to join in Ronald McDonald's
perverse antics. With the right prompting, a child's imagination
can easily turn a clown into a bogeyman (a lot of children
are very suspicious of clowns anyway.) Children love a
secret, and Ronald's is especially disgusting.
In what way are McDonald's responsible for torture and murder?
The menu at McDonald's is based on meat. They sell millions
of burgers every day in 35 countries throughout the world.
This means the constant slaughter, day by day, of animals born
and bred solely to be turned into McDonald's products.
Some of them -- especially chickens and pigs -- spend their
lives in the entirely artificial conditions of huge factory
farms, with no access to air or sunshine and no freedom of
movement. Their deaths are bloody and barbaric.
Murdering a Big Mac
In the slaughterhouse, animals often struggle to escape.
Cattle become frantic as they watch the animal before them
in the killing line being prodded, beaten, electrocuted,
A recent British government report criticised inefficient
stunning methods which frequently result in animals having
their throats cut while still fully conscious. McDonald's
are responsible for the deaths of countless animals by this
supposedly humane method. We have the choice to eat meat or
not. The 450 million animals killed for food in Britain every
year have no choice at all. It is often said that after
visiting an abattoir, people become nauseous at the thought
of eating flesh. How many of us would be prepared to work in
a slaughterhouse and kill the animals we eat?
What's Your Poison?
Meat is responsible for 70% of all food-poisoning incidents,
with chicken and minced meat (as used in burgers) being the
worst offenders. When animals are slaughtered, meat can be
contaminated with gut contents, faeces and urine, leading to
bacterial infection. In an attempt to counteract infection in
their animals, farmers routinely inject them with doses of
antibiotics. These, in addition to growth-promoting hormone
drugs and pesticide residues in their feed, build up in the
animals' tissues and can further damage the health of people
on a meat-based diet.
What's It Like Working for McDonald's?
There must be a serious problem: even though 80% of
McDonald's workers are part-time, the annual staff
turnover is 60% (in the USA it's 300%). It's not unusual
for their restaurant-workers to quit after just four or five
weeks. The reasons are not hard to find.
No Unions Allowed
Workers in catering do badly in terms of pay and conditions.
They are at work in the evenings at weekends, doing long
shifts in hot, smelly, noisy environments. Wages are low and
chances of promotion minimal.
To improve this through Trade Union negotiation is very
difficult: there is no union specifically for these workers,
and the ones they could join show little interest in the
problems of part-timers (mostly women.) A recent survey of
workers in burger-restaurants found that 80% said they needed
union help over pay and conditions. Another difficulty is
that the 'kitchen trade' has a high proportion of workers
from ethnic minority groups who, with little chance of getting
workers elsewhere, are wary of being sacked -- as many have
been -- for attempting union organization.
McDonald's have a policy of preventing unionisation by
getting rid of pro-union workers. So far this has succeeded
everywhere in the world except Sweden, and in Dublin after
a long struggle.
Trained to Sweat
It's obvious that all large chain-stores and junk-food giants
depend for their fat profits on the labour of young people.
McDonald's is no exception: three-quarters of its workers
are under 21. The production-line system deskills the works
itself: anybody can grill a hamburger, and cleaning toilets
or smiling at customers needs no training. So there is no need
to employ chefs or qualified staff -- just anybody prepared
to work for low wages.
As there is no legally-enforced minimum wage in Britain,
McDonald's can pay what they like, helping to depress wage
levels in the catering trade still further. They say they
are providing jobs for school-leavers and take them on
regardless of sex or race. The truth is McDonald's are only
interested in recruiting cheap labour -- which always means
that disadvantaged groups, women and black people especially,
are even more exploited by industry than they are already.
Everything Must Go
What's wrong with McDonald's is also wrong with all the
junk-food chains like Wimpy, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy,
etc. All of them hide their ruthless exploitation of
resources, animals and people behind a facade of colourful
gimmicks and 'family fun.' The food itself is much the
same everywhere -- only the packaging is different. The
rise of these firms means less choice, not more. They are
one of the worst examples of industries motivated only by
profit, and geared to continual expansion.
This materialist mentality is affecting all areas of our
lives, with giant conglomerates dominating the marketplace,
allowing little or no room for people to create genuine
choices. But alternatives do exist, and many are gathering
support every day from people rejecting big business in
favour of small-scale self-organisation and co-operation.
The point is not to change McDonald's into some sort of
vegetarian organisation, but to change the whole system
itself. Anything less would still be a rip-off.
Produced by Greenpeace (London) for Worldwide Anti-McDonald's
Protests on United Nations 'World Food Day,' October 16.
What Can Be Done
Stop using McDonald's, Wimpy, etc. and tell your friends
exactly why. These companies' huge profits -- and therefore
power to exploit -- come from people just walking in off
the street. It does make a difference what individuals do.
Why wait for everyone else to wake up?
Your Influence Counts
Research has shown that a larger proportion of people who
use fast-food places do so simply because they are there --
not because they particularly like the food or even feel
hungry. This fact alone suggests that hamburgers are part of
a giant con that people would avoid if they knew what to do.
Unfortunately we tend to under-value our personal
responsibility and influence. This is wrong. All change
in society starts from individuals taking the time to
think about the way they live and acting on their beliefs.
Movements are 'just ordinary people' linking
together, one by one....
Make Contact, Share Ideas
You might not always hear about them, but there are many
groups campaigning on the issues raised here -- movements to
support the struggles in the 'Third World,' to fight for the
rights of indigenous peoples, to protect rainforests, to oppose
the killing of animals, etc.
Wherever there is oppression there is resistance: people are
organising themselves, taking courage from the activities of
ordinary, concerned people from all round the world, learning
new ways and finding new energy to create a better life. The
apathy of others is no reason to hang around waiting for
someone to tell you what to 'do.' You need no special talents
to join in your local pressure group, or start one up --
existing groups will give information and advice if necessary.
For leaflets on all aspects of vegetarianism and nutrition,
animal rights and welfare, etc. contact Animal Aid, 7 Castle
Street, Tonbridge, Kent. Plenty of other contacts can be made
by writing to Greenpeace at the address below.
There's a Difference You'll Enjoy: No More Meat!
Kicking the burger habit is easy. And it's the best way to
start giving up meat altogether. Vegetarianism is no longer
just a middle-class fad: last year the number of vegetarians
in Britain increased by one-third. Most supermarkets now
stock vegetarian produce, and vegans -- who eat no animal
products at all -- are also being catered for. In short, the
'cranky' vegetarian label is being chucked out, along with all
the other old myths about 'rabbit food.'
Why not try some vegan or vegetarian recipes, just as an
experiment to start with? When asked in a survey, most
vegetarians who used to eat meat said they had far more varied
meals after they dropped meat from their diet. Another survey
showed that people on a meatless diet were healthier than
meat-eaters, less prone to 'catch' coughs and colds, and
with greatly reduced risk of suffering from hernia, piles,
obesity and heart disease.
Liberation Begins in Your Stomach
There are loads of cheap, tasty and nutritious alternatives
to a diet based on the decomposing flesh of dead animals:
fresh fruit of all kinds, a huge variety of local & exotic
vegetables, cereals, pulses, beans, rice, nuts, wholegrain
foods, soya drinks, etc. All over the country wholefood
co-operatives are springing up. Now is a really good time
A vegan Britain would be self-sufficient on only 25% of
the agricultural land presently available. Why not get
together with your friends and grow your own vegetables?
There are over 700,000 allotments in Britain -- and
The pleasure of preparing healthy food and sharing good
meals has a political importance too: it is a vital part
of process of ordinary people taking control of their
lives to create a better society, instead of leaving
their futures in the cynical, greedy hands of
corporations like McDonald's.
Who Made This Leaflet?
The London Greenpeace Group has existed for many years as
an independent group of activists with no involvement in
any particular political party. The people -- not 'members'
-- who come to the weekly open meetings share a concern
for the oppression in our lives and the destruction of our
environment. Many opposition movements are growing in
strength -- ecological, anti-war, animal liberation, and
anarchist-libertarian movements -- and continually learning
from each other. We encourage people to think and act
independently, without leaders, to try to understand the
causes of oppression and to aim for its abolition through
social revolution. This begins in our own lives, now.
Postal address: Greenpeace (London), 5 Caledonian Road, London N1
Open Meetings: 7:30pm every Thursday, 6 Endsleigh Street, London WC1
McDollars McGreedy McCancer McMurder McDisease McProfits
McDeadly McHunger McRip-off McTorture McWasteful McGarbage
McDollars McGreedy McCancer McMurder
Please copy & distribute widely.