Easy McTarget otherwise= What's Wrong with McDonald's ?
On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 19:38:31 -0600, Alan Moorman
On Sat, 03 Feb 2007 08:45:46 +0000, Martin Willett
Why do people think that certain companies and individuals can be
ruthlessly attacked at every turn?
Is there only one capitalist company in the world today that sells food?
McDonald's is constantly attacked for everything they do as if they were
deliberately trying to destroy the planet, pauper their employees and
poison their customers.
It cannot simply be tall poppy syndrome, that any successful company
will attract people willing to attack it shamelessly at every
opportunity and for every single decision it makes.
You just answered your own question.
It IS the "tall poppy syndrome."
It's that simple.
It's not that I think stupidity should be punishable by death.
I just think we should take the warning labels off of everything
and let the problem take care of itself.
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
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.
HUNGRY FOR DOLLARS
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
FAST = JUNK
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
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 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
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, 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?
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 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.
NO UNIONS ALLOWED
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 everyoe else to wake up?
YOUR INFLUENCE COUNTS
* 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...
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 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
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 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.
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 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.
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 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,
Postal address: Greenpeace (London), 5 Caledonian Road, London N1.