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.
HUNGRY FOR DOLLARS
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.
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 syfed 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 forone 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.
PET FOOD & LITTER
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 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
PAYING FOR THE HABIT
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.
THE NORMALITY TRAP
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.
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.
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
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.
NO UNIONS ALLOWED
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
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.
YOUR INFLUENCE COUNTS
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 apthy 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.
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.
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.