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27/01/03 . by Jeff Nelson . . Los Angeles  
Be in Chicago on January 27 to Help Combat McDonald's Deception!  
The controversial McDonald's beef-flavoured 'vegetarian' fries case in the US continues to create uproar!  

Time: 2:00 p.m
Date: 1/27/03
Location: Court room of Honorable Richard Siebel
Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington Street, Room 2305
Chicago, IL 60601

McDonald's Hamburglars Vegetarians!
by Jeff Nelson

"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal
more than a hundred men with guns."
-- Don Corleone, The Godfather

LOS ANGELES ( -- On Monday, January 13th, I met up in Chicago with esteemed vegetarian expert Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD [McSpotlight note: Prof Campbell was a defence expert witness in the UK McLibel case on the links between diet and cancer], and with vegetarian philanthropist Mark Epstein, to attend and speak at a hearing in the McDonald's allocation matter.

We've recently been covering this story on VegSource (see links below for past stories), but for those coming in late, McDonald's was sued for misrepresenting their French fries as vegetarian, and agreed to settle by donating $6 million to vegetarian non-profit organizations.

But instead of doing so, McDonald's is now trying to give much of the money to non-vegetarian groups -- some hostile to vegetarianism -- and to groups which don't have the geographic reach required by the settlement agreement. And they have the full complicity of most of the attorneys in the case who falsely claim to represent vegetarians.

Among the lies flying around the courtroom last Monday was one from copycat attorney Cory Fein, who told the judge that I had exhorted people on my website to come protest at the hearing, but that very few had shown up.

The truth is quite the opposite -- as sometimes seems to happen when Mr. Fein speaks. In fact, when I was asked by people prior to the hearing whether they should come too, I said no, that we didn't want a circus atmosphere but a sober presentation of our position. (Of course, if we had asked people to come, Mr. Fein's story probably would have been that I had attempted to disrupt the hearing; you know his type...)

After the hearing Mr. Fein was eager to speak to the press, some members of which were there as a result of my contacting them. Here are some excerpts:

Attorney Cory Fein, who helped come up with the list of groups splitting the $6 million, looked over the nearly empty courtroom and said the fact that only a handful of people showed up to protest the settlement was an indication that it was a good one.
(from "Foes Squabble Over McDonald's Settlement" by Eric Fidler, Associated Press)
"We are not being besieged by thousands of angry vegetarians," said Cory S. Fein, a Houston attorney who was in charge of investigating complaints about the groups scheduled to share in $6 million of the settlement.
(from "
Scientist roasts McDonald's lawsuit deal" by Sandra Guy, Chicago Sun-Times)

Fortunately, vegetarians are in luck! The judge will be continuing the hearing on January 27th at 2 PM, so there's still time! Make your plans to attend the hearing in Chicago and speak up!

Coming to Chicago to Object Can Be Effective
In his quotes above, a smug Mr. Fein is telling vegetarians that the effective way to object to this sham proposal is not to merely to send in undisputed evidence in declarations from many of the most beloved, well-respected vegetarian leaders. (Perhaps he believes the judge would accept the word of non-vegetarian Corey Fein over people like John Robbins, Michael Klaper MD and John McDougall MD when it comes to deciding who is more expert about vegetarianism and the vegetarian community.)

Clearly Mr. Fein is saying the strongest thing objectors can do is to come to the court in person as "angry vegetarians."

And there's plenty in the proposal from McDonald's and the corrupt copycat attorneys to be angry about -- such as their attempt to give vegetarian settlement money to Dr. Stephen Zeisel, the notorious vivisector at the University of North Carolina who now apparently claims he is employed by a "vegetarian organization, dedicated to the values of vegetarianism" -- or at least he is, so long as he can get $250,000 of settlement money intended for vegetarian groups.

Dr. Zeisel has been quoted saying he will add the "vegetarian organization" money from McDonald's to the Egg Board money he's already gotten, to experiment on vegan women. He hopes to prove his hypothesis that vegan women need to eat eggs, dairy and perhaps beef liver while pregnant. (I expect McDonald's and the Egg Board would be willing to fund as many such studies as necessary to try to prove this bogus theory.)
McDonald's and the copycat lawyers are calling the following groups "vegetarian organizations, dedicated to the values of vegetarianism":

Tufts University Department of Nutrition (essentially "owned" by its food and pharmeceutical industry donors, and with a track record of being hostile to vegetarianism);
University of North Carolina (where a vivisector is slated for settlement money to fund a study which he believes will prove the vegetarian diet is dangerous);
American Dietetic Association (already heavily funded by McDonald's and the meat and dairy industry, and not a non-profit org, as required by settlement terms); and
Loma Linda University (a good outfit, but an organization dedicated to Jesus Christ, not vegetarianism, according to their own admissions).
It's not hard to guess the reason these four groups are being misrepresented as "vegetarian organizations" by McDonald's -- it helps prevent the money from going to genuine vegetarian organizations as required under the settlement, something McDonald's apparently doesn't want to see happen, and the copycat attorneys are willing to help subvert.

In addition to putting in non-vegetarian groups, McDonald's wants to direct large sums of settlement money to a few actual vegetarian groups, which only serve a tiny fraction of vegetarians, those around the greater New York area. But the settlement McDonald's signed explicitly requires the money must go to vegetarian organizations with "geographic reach."

You Can Make a Difference

Why should you object in person on January 27th? Because this settlement contains more beef than McDonald's French fries. It contains non-vegetarian and anti-vegetarian groups. And just as when McDonald's lied to us about the fries, they're lying again. And don't rely on help from the copycat attorneys who are supposedly representing vegetarians; one of the lawyers on the inside has just filed a declaration presenting what he says is evidence that the copycat lawyers have colluded with McDonald's in subverting the settlement. You can read this explosive court document, linked below.

People of conscience interested in justice -- not just vegetarians, but everyone who believes in fairness -- should not let this go unchallenged.

At a certain point you have to take a stand that people can't just lie and get away with it. The people at Enron and WorldCom and Andersen Accounting -- they lied for their own gain, and their feeling was "the people and shareholders be damned!" Only a few knew what was going on, and not enough stood up to them until it was too late.

If you reject dishonesty and attempts to commit an injustice, you should go to Chicago as I did, and let the judge know that he should not approve this travesty.

Remember the history of this case: McDonald's was sued for misrepresenting its fries were vegetarian. McDonald's admitted they weren't veg, but said, Hey -- we never told anyone they were! Then McDonald's was confronted with their own letters written to vegetarians by their employees, assuring vegetarians McDonald's fries were vegetarian and okay to eat. Oops! McDonald's was then caught, and agreed to settle the case.

Don't Let McDonald's Pull Another Fast One!

People can have an impact here. You can have an impact. This is an opportunity to really do something positive for vegetarians, and for fairness.

Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD has spoken at every major national and international vegetarian conference, has undertaken some of the most important and celebrated research in support of vegetarianism, and is regarded by all in the community as a man of character and integrity.

Dr. Campbell paid his own money to fly to Chicago. He told the judge that this settlement will "set back vegetarianism as a class for 10 to 20 years" if it is approved. Dr. Campbell is well aware of the impact in the academic and scientific community of awarding monies for vegetarian research to universities which are hostile to vegetarianism.

Do you want an anti-vegetarian researcher to get research money, which the media will later report on as a result of his being singled out as representing the best of vegetarian research? Do you want to read a headline that could arise from this bogus settlement, like: "Scientist Specializing in Vegetarian Research Says Vegetarian Diet Unsafe"?

If you want to stop McDonald's from making that happen, you'd better head for Chicago, just like Dr. Campbell. You can make a difference. Tell the judge these corrupt copycat lawyers don't represent you. They don't represent vegetarians when they put in non-vegetarian and anti-vegetarian groups, and fight and insult the leading vegetarians in the U.S. as part of their efforts to dupe the judge.

Important Note
For those who do attend, we encourage you to understand the importance of etiquette and respect for the Court. Do not be loud or obnoxious. Wait your turn to speak, you will have an opportunity. The judge has shown himself to be patient and tolerant. Hopefully we'll be able to add "fair" to that list, at the end of all this.
Do you live in the Chicago area? Download and distribute
this flyer.
McDonald's Lawsuit Articles: Read a recently filed declaration by one of the lawyers in the case, detailing allegations that McDonald's and the copycat attorneys colluded to subvert terms of the settlement (pdf file)Read Jeff Nelson's personal account of the January 13th hearingRead Jeff Nelson's January 13th statement to the courtPast VegSource stories on McDonald's suit:
Sleeping with the Enemy
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