- McDonald's -

Perhaps you ought to target the public.

Posted by: James ( UK ) on October 25, 1999 at 11:28:12:

In Reply to: Naivety & Motives posted by James on October 22, 1999 at 18:02:56:

: McSpotlight: We give the reasons for targeting McDonald's here. Not the least of them being that McDonald's tried to use the UK libel laws to silence critics; which resulted in the McLibel Trial, which resulted in McSpotlight.
: McDonald's is the biggest target; they set the conditions and acceptable practices in the industry as a whole in much the same way that The Sun dictates tabloid practice and behaviour. And they cannot stand justified criticism; despite the fact that the judge ruled that McDonald's exploit their staff, exploit children, knowingly promotes unhealthy food as healthy and are culpably guilty of cruelty to animals.
: I don't know about you, but we feel justified in criticising a company that does the above. Even more so when they try to silence people for criticizing them about it.

But MUCH of your criticism was in fact thrown out by the Judge in the libel case, as he said: "In my view, the unjustified allegations of blame for starvation in the Third World, and destruction of rainforest, and of knowingly selling food with a serious risk of damaging their customers' health, are particularly damaging to the Plaintiffs' reputations. The allegation of lying about their use of recycled paper is serious because of the element of deception."

And the Judge’s finding was not wholly supportive since he says "... an element of justification in relation to the Plaintiffs' advertising, their responsibility for some cruelty towards some of the animals which are reared and slaughtered for their products, and the Second Plaintiffs' low pay. Although the Plaintiffs succeeded on other elements of the defamatory charges relating to their employment practices, the evidence did disclose unsatisfactory aspects of their working conditions." He doesn’t say they were FULLY justified. He goes on: "The important charges of deception made against the Plaintiffs in the leaflet have not been justified, but some of the Plaintiffs' publicity material has been shown to be misleading."

: You say that slaughterhouses are regulated by the Government; this is true; but McD's provide the market for the meat; and they market an unhealthy product to the tune of over $2 billion per year, despite knowing it to be unhealthy. Furthermore, they target their adverts at those who are not old enough to disseminate the semiology behind adverts. This is unethical behaviour in our books.
: Witness the fact that McDonaldland adverts pretend that hamburgers come from a hamburger patch; rather than being part of a dead animal; because dead animals are mediapathic.

Two points:
First, I think virtually all fast food is inherently unhealthy and no one would promote it as a regular diet (No fruit, few vegetables, imbalanced intake of nutrients, etc.) Nevertheless, if you’re going to eat the stuff McD’s is better than most. The traditional British High Street Chippie’s products must surely be even worse. Here in Scotland we’re renowned for having the unhealthiest diet in the UK (and perhaps the world), and there were no McD’s here at all until less than 10 years ago. No McD’s, no McD’s adverts, and the food retailers didn’t have big promotions to snare the poor unsuspecting public into buying their lousy products. It was just plain poor nutrition. Why? Because that’s what the people seemed to want and buy. Recently, some Chippie here was selling deep-fried Mars Bars! Perhaps you ought to target the public.

Children are susceptible to persuasive advertising; but I rather doubt they are quite as gullible as you seem to imagine. As if they really believed this nonsense; and Cabbage Patch Dolls came from cabbage patches. Children should learn at a very early age not to trust advertising, and they seem to do so. Lots of advertised products soon show that they cannot live up to the advertising that sold them, and this quickly disabuses children from believing all they see, hear or read in adverts. More importantly, parents should teach their children some commercial sensibility and should not allow purchasing decisions simply to be dictated by the whims of their children. Do that, and you’ll never get any relief, and the kids will be spoilt rotten.

Again, if the farmers and meat processing industry follow unsatisfactory practices you really ought to focus on them and the Government regulators concerned. McD’s may be the single biggest customer but they’re still small in context. How much British Beef do they buy? The large supermarket chains surely outclass them.

Where does this logic end? If Z buys from Y that buys from X that buys ...... from A where does the line get drawn? Are you going to end up targeting McD’s customers? The customer’s employers and families? I don’t think so ... but if some one or some company is directly responsible for mistreating animals then they should be your targets— after all, if McD’s did go elsewhere there would be multitudes of customers left for those products. Isn’t that right? Better regulation and control would be a universal solution and more desirable than one company's localized efforts. Its easier to target McD's that are in the local British High St./ US Main St. than to go after regulators and legislators isn't it.

McSpotlight: This is getting involved; so I'll answer to it in a separate message below.

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