DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
1. RE-RE-RE-AMENDED PARTICULARS OF JUSTIFICATION AND FAIR COMMENT
Throughout Central and Latin America extensive cattle ranching has long
been recognised as one of a number of factors leading to the destruction
of tropical forests, commonly known as 'rain forests'. This extensive cattle
ranching often forces indigenous people, peasants and small scale
farmers from their land. Various methods are used to destroy forests. One
such method is called 'herbicidal defoliation' and involves the use of chemical agents known as Tordon and 2,4,5-T (otherwise known as 'Agent Orange'). It is well known and accepted by the 'McFact Card' published by the Second Plaintiff that rain forest destruction threatens the environment.
A. Destruction of the Environment
The Defendants will rely, inter alia, upon the findings of the 'Inquiry
into the beef and cattle industry in the tropical forest areas of Latin
America' carried out by Douglas R. Shane for the Office of Environmental
Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington DC and subsequently published under the title, `Hoofprints in the Forest' in 1986, by the Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
Meat from cattle ranches in Central and Latin America, including some
using ex-rainforest land, has been supplied to restaurants operated
or franchised by the First Plaintiff and/or its subsidiaries. In this way
McDonald's bear some responsibility for and/or have contributed to the destruction of rain forests in Central and Latin America by whatever means that destruction has been carried out.
In 1975 Industria de Ganaderos Gualtemaltecos began supplying
McDonald's Guatemala and in or around November 1979 Industria de Ganaderos
Gualtemaltecos, S.A., a beef packing plant in Exgupagra, Guatemala, was
supplying beef directly to the beef processor who supplied McDonald's U.S.
outlets. Throughout the 1980s Procasa was supplying McDonald's Guatemala
from land, some of which was formerly rainforest.
- From 1970 onwards beef from cattle reared on ex-rainforest land
was supplied to McDonald's, and in particular, in or around 1986 meat
was being supplied by Montecillos Co-op Meat Factory, Costa Rica, to McDonald's.
- Brazilian beef, raised in regions causing the displacement of farmers into Amazon forest areas, has been supplied to McDonald's, in Brazil and to McDonald's UK and to McDonald's or their suppliers in Argentina and Switzerland. Suppliers have included Braslo Limited and Vestey Ltd. Brazilian beef has been used by McDonald's stores in Brazil (of which there were 10 in 1983 and 50 in June 1989). Plants supplying the McDonald's beef have been included those based at Barretos (exported to the UK), and at Campo Grande and Goiaina. Between 1966 and 1975, 38 per cent of the Amazon forest cut down was caused by colonisation. Cattle ranching outside the Amazon is the principal reason for the movement of peasants into the Amazon, causing deforestation. These peasants can invade and have invaded indigenous Indian land. By this process, McDonald's have aided rainforest destruction and helped to maintain ecological problems and social inequality in Brazil. Further, McDonald's have had no, or no coherent or consistent policy on the use of beef from ex-rainforest regions.
- The inadequate meat labelling system operated by the United States
Department of Agriculture - which labels all beef, whether imported or domestically
produced, as domestic once it has been passed as satisfactory to consume
in the United States - and the practice of mixing meat produced in the United
States with meat produced elsewhere makes it impossible for the supplier
of restaurants trading under the name 'McDonald's' in the United States
and elsewhere in the world to have avoided buying meat produced in Central
and Latin America.
- In the 1960s and 1970s McDonalds USA had over 150 suppliers from all
around the country. McDonald's purported policy of not using imported beef
was not adhered to. The company failed to prevent or were reckless as to
the use of imported beef. At one of McDonald's suppliers (Equity) in Philadelphia
in the late 1970s, imported beef from Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere
was used in the preparation of ground beef for distribution to McDonald's
franchises. McDonald's first drafted a Corporate Policy Statement relating
to rainforests in May 1989.
- In or around the 1980s, McDonald's USA purchased beef which had been
supplied to them from Co-op Montecillas via US 'middlemen' Northwester Meat,
Parker Supervision/Provision and Turpman Turlow. In one year (1982 or 1983)
Co-op Montecillos exported 15,000 tonnes of beef, 95% of their total production,
to a US 'middleman' . 70% of the 15,000 tonnes went to fast food chains
including McDonald's. About 300 tonnes per year was supplied from Co-op
Montecillos direct to fast food chains in Costa Rica. Costa Rican companies
GISA, CAMSA and ECCSA were exporting similar amounts using mostly the same
'middlemen' as Co-op Montecillos. By 1988 the total was 50,000 tonnes. Nearly
2,000 tonnes of meat products went to Japan and West Germany, much for fast
food chains including McDonald's.
- Canada 1983. McDonald's were reckless as to the truth and/or engaged
in a cover up at the highest level. George Cohon, McDonald's Canada President,
had extensive correspondence with the World Wildlife Fund and Prince Philip
after the Prince had spoken to him at a WWF event about McDonald's use of
ex-rainforest beef. He claimed to have made extensive global checks more
than once and then stated incorrectly that 'McDonald's worldwide is not
involved in any manner ... in buying beef as a result of cattle that have
been grazing in areas that formerly were rainforests' . This false statement
persuaded Prince Philip and the WWF to drop their concerns and was then
systematically used up till the present time by McDonald's legal representatives
and public relations departments to counter or suppress concern and criticism
of their use of beef raised on ex-rainforest land. The Corporation has failed
to apologise or compensate for the unnecessary financial hardship and embarrassment
caused to organisations who have been forced to apologise or face legal
- Further the Defendants will rely, inter alia, upon the facts and information
collated in the documentary film entitled 'Jungleburger' made by Peter Keller
and produced by 'Filmkraft' in Germany.
- Further, McDonald's have had no, or no coherent or consistent policy on the use of beef from ex-rainforest regions.
- Further or alternatively, even if the Plaintiffs' purported policy
of not accepting supplies of meat which allegedly come from recently deforested
land is true, their acceptance of supplies of meat from formerly deforested
land, whether it was deforested 10, 15 or 25 years ago, is harmful to the
- Further or alternatively, some of the cattle feed consumed by cattle
destined for the Plaintiffs or subsidiaries stores also emanates from ex-rainforest
- Further ecological consequences of cattle ranching are the generation
of methane (a cause of global warming), as well as reduced biodiversity.
- McDonald's stores and long term business relations with their suppliers
constitute investments which can influence the social fabric of a country.
Such agribusiness as outlined undermines local food self sufficiency and
promotes dependency in poor countries on unequal world trade, a major cause
of hunger in such countries. Another cause is the promotion and over consumption
of meat products, which McDonald's must share some responsibility for.
2. FURTHER AND BETTER PARTICULARS OF THE PARTICULARS OF JUSTIFICATION
AND FAIR COMMENT
- Of: "Further or in the alternative, the words complained of in
their natural and ordinary meaning are true in substance and in fact. In
so far as it may be necessary, the Defendants will rely on Section 5 of
the Defamation Act 1952.
- Particulars of justification will be served separately."
Specifying, in relation to each Plaintiff, the defamatory meanings which
the Defendants seek to justify.
The Defendants seek to justify the following meanings in respect of each
- That the First Plaintiff, along with other large corporations, by its
practices, such as the purchasing of meat from Central and Latin America
by restaurants operated or franchised by it and/or its subsidiaries, by
investing in long-term business arrangements there and, more generally,
by increasing the world-wide demand for hamburgers, bears some responsibility
for the catastrophic ecological and economic situation that has developed
over a number of years whereby rainforests have been destroyed by methods
including defoliation and small-scale farmers in those areas have been forced
to leave their land. Further, that by increasing and satisfying the demand
for food such as hamburgers in the developed world the First and Second
Plaintiffs have contributed to a situation whereby Third World countries
are exporting crops to the developed world, in some cases as animal feed,
when there are many people within those countries who are starving or undernourished.
Further that such practices contribute to the inequality economically between
the developed world and the Third World.
3. Under sub-paragraph A (Destruction of the environment)
- "The Defendants will rely, inter alia, upon the findings of the
'Inquiry into the beef and cattle industry in the tropical forest areas
of Latin America'............
- made by Peter Keller and produced by 'Filmkraft In Germany."
- Each and every occasion when it is alleged that meat from cattle ranches
in Central and Latin America has been supplied to restaurants operated or
franchised by the First Plaintiff and/or its subsidiaries, identifying:
- (i) the quantity and nature of meat concerned;
- (ii) the identity of the cattle ranch allegedly supplying the said meat:
- (iii) the restaurants operated or franchised by the First Plaintiff
and/or its subsidiaries which received the said meat.
- Whether it is alleged that the cattle ranches identified in answer to
request 1 above reared cattle on land which was formerly tropical rainforest;
if yes, identifying the geographical position of the said land.
(3) In relation to particular (a)
- (i) the precise date when it is alleged that Industria de Ganaderos
Guatemaltcos supplied beef directly to the beef processor who supplied McDonald's
- (ii) the amount of beef supplied on each occasion relied upon;
- (iii) whether it is the Defendants case that the said beef packing plant
obtained its meat from cattle reared on what was formerly tropical rain
forest. If yes, identifying the geographic position of the said forest.
(4) In relation to particular (b)
- (i) the precise dates in 1986 when it is alleged that meat was being
supplied by Montecillos Co-op Meat Factory to McDonald's;
- (ii) the amount of beef supplied on each occasion relied upon;
- (iii) whether it is the Defendants' case that the said meat factory
obtained that meat from cattle reared on what was formerly tropical rainforest;
if yes, identifying the geographic position of the said forest.
- In relation to the film 'Jungleburger', those facts and information
upon which the Defendants rely, making it clear whether it is the Defendants
case that the said facts and information are true.
- The Defendants' case is clear. Paragraph A(b) of the Particulars of
Justification and Fair Comment should contend that meat including much from
ex-rainforest land was supplied to McDonald's both in Costa Rica and elsewhere
from the Montecillos Co-op Meat Factory after 1970, and specifically in
or around 1983, 1984 and 1988, rather than in or around 1986. Otherwise,
the requested particulars are matters of evidence.
- It is the Defendants case that meat from identifiable cattle ranches
was supplied to restaurants operated or franchised by the first Plaintiff
and/or its subsidiaries and that these ranches both reared cattle on land
which was formerly tropical rainforest and/or reared cattle on other non-tropical
rainforest land but which had the effect of forcing others to use formerly
tropical rain forest land.
- (i) and (ii). The requested particulars are matters of evidence.
- (iii) See (2) above.
- See (1) above.
- (iii) See (2) above.
- The Defendants attach a copy of the transcript of the said film hereto
and will rely upon the contents at trial as true.
3. FURTHER AND BETTER PARTICULARS OF THE PARTICULARS OF JUSTIFICATION
AND FAIR COMMENT PURSUANT TO AN ORDER DATED 6TH NOVEMBER 1991.
Request numbered 3(i)
In or around November 1979.
Request numbered 3(ii)
During November 1979, about 200 cattle were killed per day as part of the
process carried out at Industria de Ganaderos Guatemaltecos, SA. About 70%
was ultimately exported. It is the Defendants' case that a significant amount
of the exported meat was supplied to the beef processor who supplied McDonald's
Request numbered 5
The Defendants will rely upon the following facts and information, all of
which they contend is true: Costa Rica was once substantially covered with
natural forest. But, in 20 years time it will have to import wood. Meat
mountains are taking the place of virgin forest. More animals than people
live in Costa Rica. Meat is eating away at the land. One head of cattle
uses up 2 acres of pasture a year. In 5 years time the pasture will be treeless
and infertile and each animal will need six times as big an area for adequate
grazing and soil is dying.
In about 15 years time there will be no forest left in Costa Rica apart
from a few nature parks and reserves under State protection. The role that
cattle raising has played in this is evident. The destruction of the forests
in Costa Rica is a direct result of using the countryside for the purpose
of extensive cattle raising. The rainforest is important in providing employment
and keeping the soil fertile and it also has a vital effect in regulating
the climate. About 175,000 acres of land is cleared of trees every year.
About 680,000,000 tons of fertile soil are lost every year through erosion.
Cattle farming causes about 80% of this. It is estimated that in the 1970's
2.5 tons of fertile earth were lost for every kilo of meat exported.
The earth in Costa Rica takes between about 100 and 400 years to become
proper soil. Soil erosion is one result of deforestation. It leads many
farmers to rely heavily on fertilisers and imported chemical products which
are often highly toxic and/or dangerous.
Meat from Central America is especially profitable for the American market.
From the Montecillos Co-op meat factory dealers from New York and Miami
buy up lean meat at cheap prices. Meat is sold through brokers on a commission
basis. Much of the meat is for food chains such as McDonald's and Burger
4. FURTHER AND BETTER PARTICULARS OF THE AMENDED PARTICULARS OF JUSTIFICATION
AND FAIR COMMENT.
- "Meat from cattle ranches in Central and Latin America, including
some using ex- rainforest land, has been supplied
to restaurants operated or franchised by the First
Plaintiff and/or its subsidiaries....."
- (b) From 1970 onwards beef from cattle reared on ex-rainforest land
was supplied to McDonald's, and in particular, in or around 1983, 1984
and 1988 meat was being supplied by Montecillos Co-op Meat Factory, Costa
Rica, to McDonald's.
Stating the identity and location of each cattle ranch in Central and Latin
America which it is alleged to have supplied meat to the Plaintiffs or its
subsidiaries from beef reared on ex-rainforest land, making clear in each
(a) the date and amount of the beef supplied;
(b) the date when the land from which it came had ceased to be rainforest;
(c) the identity of the recipient of the said beef and its relationship
to the Plaintiffs; and
(d) whether it is alleged that the Plaintiffs were aware, and if so when,
of the fact that the beef had been reared on ex-rainforest land had been
The Defendants will rely on documents disclosed in the proceedings and admissions
made by the Plaintiffs, including the admissions made by Eddie Bensilum,
detailed in the statement of David Rose. The Plaintiffs are therefore fully
aware of the case being advanced by the Defendants and the requests for
precise dates and locations are not appropriate.
It is not a necessary component of the Defendants case to establish that
the Plaintiffs were aware of the fact that beef from cattle reared on ex-rainforest
land has been used in their restaurants. However, it is the Defendants case
that the Plaintiffs are now aware of this fact and must have been aware
for some considerable period of time, certainly since the start of the period
of the alleged libel.
- Of: "Further or alternatively, some of the cattle feed consumed
by cattle destined for the plaintiffs or subsidiaries stores also emanates
from ex-rainforest land."
- Stating the full facts and matters relied upon in support of the said
The Plaintiffs use of beef inevitably results in the massive consumption
of animal feed by cattle destined for their stores. The Plaintiffs have
had no policy on prohibiting the consumption by such cattle of feed grown
on ex-rainforest land. Much animal feed is grown on ex-rainforest land.
In particular a considerable percentage of the world's soya feed emanates
from Brazil, much from ex-rainforest land, and deforestation for soya production
In Europe, beef cattle often consume soya feed supplements, often from Brazil.
In particular in Germany, beef from thousands of farms using soya feed (much
imported from Brazil and supplied to farmers by, among others, Raffeisen-Kraft
Fatterwerk) is supplied to McDonald's main beef supplier L & 0 Fleischwaren.
The defendants will also rely on the information contained in the books
'Das Brot Des Seigers' and 'SOJA' written by Siegfried Pater.