(en)The What's wrong with McDonald's? The Original Factsheet

Lyn and Shawn (linjin@tao.ca)
Thu, 19 Jun 1997 19:48:06 pst

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 18:44:41 -0700 (PDT) From: bd982@scn.org (Greg Jackson) To: a-infos-raw Subject: [dante@halcyon.com: The What's wrong with McDonald's? Reply-to: a-infos-work

http://www.envirolink.org/mcspotlight/case/pretrial/factsheet.html > [Image]
> [the out-of-print original factsheet - subject of the libel action]
> This was a specialist publication written in 1986 and not intended for
> distribution on the streets.
> Please check out, copy and distribute the current, shorter, snappier "
> What's Wrong with McDonald's " leaflet
> (available in 7 languages and as PDF files), of which 2 million have
> been circulated worldwide in the last 5 years.
> [Image]
> [What's wrong with McDonald's? Everything they don't want you to know.]
> [McDollars McGreedy McCancer McMurder]
> 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.
> [Image]
> * What's the connection between McDonald's and starvation in the
> 'Third World'?
> THERE's no point in 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 doesnothing to
> challenge the power of multinational corporations.
> * McDonald's is one of several giant corporations with investments
> in vast 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 fortheir
> 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 -
> thewealthiest.
> * 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
> contries 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 and hungry while many whites grow fat.
> [Image]
> 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.
> GRAIN is fed to cattle in South American countries to produce the
> meat in McDonald's hamburgers. Cattle consume 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 so 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 fo one year.
> [McDisease McProfits McDeadly McHunger McRip-Off McTorture McWasteful McGarbage]
> 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
> leastpartly 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,
> becoms 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
> ajor part of the planet's crucial supply of oxygen.
> * 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 fat-food
> packaging materials. (Don't be fooled by McDonald's saying they
> use recycled paper: only a tiny per cent of it is. The truth is
> it takes 800 square miles of forest just to keep them supplied
> with paper for one year. Tons of this end up litteing the cities
> of 'developed' countries.)
> * Not only are McDonald's and many other corporations contributing
> to a major ecological catastrophe, they are forcing the tribal
> peoples in the rainforests off their ancestral territories where
> they have lived peacefully, without damaging their envronment,
> 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 this planet.
> * 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. Thisis
> accepted medical fact, not a cranky theory. Every year in
> Britain, heart disease alone causes about 180,000 deaths.
> * Even if they like eating them, most people recognise that
> processed 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
> serve 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.
> * 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 thata
> "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
> andheart attacks for many customers.
> 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
> sae 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 th 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
> andchips every time they see a clown with orange hair.
> * 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
> hourof 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 Ronald McDonald.
> Few children are slow to spot the gaudy red 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 t 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!') reucing 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
> parnts know it's not even cheap.
> 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 suspiciou 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.
> * 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, and knifed.
> 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 mehod. 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 prpared to work in a slaughterhouse and
> kill the animals we eat?
> [McDollars McGreedy McCancer McMurder]
> 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
> infetion. 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
> furter 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 had to
> find.
> * Workers in catering do badly in terms of pay and conditions. They
> are at work in the evenings and 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-resturants 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 work elsewhere, are
> wary of being saced - as many have been - for attempting union
> organisation.
> 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.
> * 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 work itself:
> nybody 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.
> 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 eople 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]
> 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 everyoe
> else to wake up?
> * Research has shown that a large proportion of people who use
> fast-food places do so because they are there - not because they
> particularly like the food or feel hungry. This fact alone
> suggests that hamburgers are part of a giant con that peole would
> avoid if they knew what to do. Unfortunately we tend to
> undervalue 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 belief.
> Movements are 'just ordinary people' linking together, one by
> one...
> 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 killig
> 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.
> 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 vgetarian
> 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 peopl 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.
> 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 driks
> etc. All over the country wholefood co-operatives are springing
> up. Now is a really good time for change.
> 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 countless gardens.
> The pleasure of preparing healthy food and sharing good meals has
> a political importance too: it is a vital part of the process of
> ordinary people taking control of their lives to create a better
> society, instead of leaving their futures in the cynical, reedy
> hands of corporations like McDonald's.
> 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 ives 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
> ndependently, 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.

323 Broadway Ave. E #914 
Seattle,Wa. 98102 USA
(206) 680-8916


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