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Press Release 20th June 1997


Judge finds it to be a fact that McDonald's 'exploit children' through their advertising and promotions, that McDonald's promotion of its food as nutritious is deceptive, that McDonald's is 'culpably responsible' for cruelty to animals, that McDonald's pays low wages to its workers in the UK and is anti-union.

Mr Justice Bell yesterday ruled, in his personal verdict in the McLibel Trial delivered at Britain's High Court, that substantial and significant parts of the London Greenpeace Factsheet criticising the company have been proved to be true by the evidence brought by the McLibel Defendants, Helen Steel & Dave Morris.

There follows extracts from the official Summary of the Judgment by Mr Justice Bell in the McLibel Trial which was yesterday read out in a courtroom packed with journalists, supporters of the McLibel Defendants, and McDonald's top executives and their lawyers. The full Summary (running to 45 pages) is available on the McSpotlight Internet site ( and the full judgment (approx 1000 pages) will be uploaded onto the site soon. The McLibel Support Campaign will be issuing a Press Release on Monday 23rd June analysing in detail the judge's full judgment, and reporting on Saturday's UK and global protests against the company.


[The criticism in] the leaflet to the effect that [McDonald's] exploit children by using them, as more susceptible subjects of advertising, to pressurise their parents into going to McDonald's is justified. It is true.

In my judgment McDonald's advertising and marketing makes considerable use of susceptible young children to bring in custom, both their own and that of their parents who must accompany them, by pestering their parents.

McDONALD'S FOOD (pp 21 & 23)

At the material time of publication of the leaflet between September 1987, and September 1990, McDonald's food was high in fat (including saturated fat) and salt (sodium) and animal products and it has continued to be so.

I..find that various of [McDonald's] advertisements, promotions and booklets have pretended to a postive nutritional benefit which McDonald's food, high in fat and saturated fat and animal products and sodium, and at one time low in fibre, did not match.


[The criticism that McDonald's] are culpably responsible for cruel practices in the rearing and slaughter of some of the animals which are used to produce their food is justified, true in substance and in fact.


[McDonald's UK] does pay its workers low wages, thereby helping to depress wages for workers in the catering trade in Britain. [McDonald's] are stongly antipathetic to any idea of unionisation of crew in their restaurants.

The Defendants were cheered by hundreds of people as they came out of court. They believe that their stance in fighting the case has been vindicated; that evidence in the trial has backed up all the criticisms made of McDonald's over the promotion of unhealthy food, and exploitation of people, animals and the environment; and that the campaign has become unstoppable.

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