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McLibel Support Campaign
P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 18/05/00
From the US McLibel Support campaign...

Thursday / May 18, 2000


CHICAGO Demonstrators opposed to the environmental destruction and human degradation caused by McDonald's managed to enter the annual shareholders meeting in Chicago, USA on Thursday 18th May 2000.

"McDonald's is out of touch with the communities they are in," said Mike Duraschmid, a spokesperson for the McLibel campaign and Chicago Animal Defense League.

Inside the AGM, Mike Durschmid debated with McDonald's CEO Jack Greenburg, who admitted he didn't even know why people were protesting.

--------------------------------------------------------------------- The Financial Times - UK Business Daily May 18 2000

McDonald's denies imperialism

By Christopher Bowe in Chicago

McDonald's, the US fast-food chain, lashed out on Thursday at groups that have been targeting its restaurants, saying that some would be content if the company sold "only beans and rice".

The response to the vandalism by protest groups, made at the annual shareholders meeting, was one of the strongest yet from the company, and came as McDonald's outlined plans for further global expansion.

The well-known and widespread McDonald's restaurants and their iconic American trademark Golden Arches have increasingly become the whipping boys in the US and elsewhere for a variety of attacks.

Protestors, including those decrying the onset of globalisation, have recently vandalised and attacked McDonald's restaurants. Windows were broken at a McDonald's in Davos, Switzerland, during a trade summit there, and a restaurant in France was damaged in a protest by farmers.

The response by the company is one of the strongest and most ardent pleas for a better look at its practices.

One part of its response was a plea to see that the company has many stores owned, operated and supplied by the local people and the areas in which they are located. The argument was that the company does not dictate, own and control all its stores around the world from a central, McDonald's politburo in the US.

Company officials also tried to defuse claims that its business was culturally imperialistic.

"McDonald's is the target for people who are anti-globalisation, anti-free trade, and anti-American," said Jack Greenberg, chief executive. "They have picked the wrong target. We are highly decentralized, we don't act local - we are local," Mr Greenberg said. He also delivered an almost cathartic tongue lashing directed at animal rights activists' longstanding campaign against it.

The Chicago-based company has long been in the sights of People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, for its alleged mistreatment of cattle and other livestock on company and suppliers' farms.

The company responded that its protest claims and tactics of how it treated its cattle had not been accurate.

"PETA's campaign against McDonald's has been tasteless and dishonest," Mr Greenberg said. "I ask you to recognize that PETA will never be happy until we only sell beans and rice."

In the meantime, McDonald's outlined its program to increase its reach around the globe. McDonald's said it planned to add up to 1,900 new restaurants around the world this year.

Averaging out to a pace of five per day, the company intends to open 650 restaurants in Asia, 550 in Europe, 350 in Latin America, 200 in the US and 250 in the rest of the world.

Furthermore - in an ambitious plan to increase sales - McDonald's plans to have 1,500 new restaurants in Asia over the next two years.

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