A trial is underway in London against two conservationists from the British organisation London Greenpeace (which is independent of Greenpeace International). They are being prosecuted by fast-food giant McDonalds, for publicly criticising the company's practices. It is the first ever trial of its kind, since other campaigners have backed down and formally apologised, rather than take on the 24 billion dollar corporation. With Helen Steel and Dave Morris however, Mr Big Mac is not having it so easy. The pair are sticking to their guns, refusing to go back on statements made, and have followed three years of preliminary hearings.
The trial itself is now beginning, and for the first time, Mcdonalds must prove in a court of law that the criticisms made of its environmental impact, consent to maltreatment of animals, regulation of workers' rights and its influencing of young children towards unhealthy dietary habits are unjustified.
The court has decided that in this case - contrary to usual libel case procedure- there shall be no jury! McDonalds had argued that the themes discussed in thetrial were too complex for the jury to fully understand. This decision caused the Guardian's legal correspondent to state, "I cannot remember any occasion where the cards were placed in such a spectacularly one-sided way before the court."
Despite the 'super-lawyers' hired by McDonalds, the defendants' chances look good, since their criticisms are also familiar to non-environmentalists. However this trial may end, animal and environmental protection groups have already announced further action against McDonalds. Regarding these actions, donations and PR workers are especially important at the present time.
Information sheets and flyers are available from:
Veggies 180 Mansfield Rd Nottingham England
1000 flyers cost 12 pounds and can be printed with the group's address! Posters,stickers and sew-on patches are also available.
Further information is available at:
McLibel Support Campaign c/o London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Rd London N1 9DX United Kingdom
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As the trial began, protests were taking place outside all 90 (!) of the McDonalds branches in London.