PETA launches Campaign against McDonalds

After two years of patient negotiating resulting in no action by the company on any points we raised, PETA is launching a brand-new campaign targeting McDonald's.

PETA has been in regular negotiations with McDonald's since the 1997 "McLibel" verdict, in which the British high court in London ruled that McDonald's is responsible for cruelty to animals. But last month, we broke off talks after it became clear that the restaurant chain had no intention of following up its lip service with meaningful action. (See below for the specific steps we asked McDonald's to take; the company refused to consider any of them and was clearly interested only in public relations, not action.)

 Now PETA is launching a series of in-your-face billboards and advertisements attacking McDonald's, as well as releasing brand-new leaflets, posters, stickers, bumper stickers, and shirts focusing on McDonald's cruelty to animals.  

We are calling on activists to organize demonstrations at McDonald's restaurants, beginning on Saturday, October 16. We are happy to supply (free of charge) leaflets, posters, sample news releases, and media lists. We are also happy to assist you in the planning or to help you brainstorm for ideas.

Please e-mail us as soon as possible with the date, time, and place of your demo, and let us know what assistance, if any, you need. Be sure to include your name and complete address (including city, state, and zip code), your group's name (if any), and your phone number. If you already know which McDonald's restaurant (or restaurants) you plan to target, and the scenario, let us know that, too. Of course, try to pick restaurants that are near a public sidewalk.

We will send you posters and leaflets as soon as they're  ready (by October 1), and will call you to discuss demo details (location, plan, etc.). If you don't need or want our help, please let us know your plans and register your demo anyway. Let us know afterward how it went, how many people were there, etc., as well.  

Also, we'll be placing the billboards and ads across the country and can supply these to local groups who want to sponsor them in their community.

This Web site will have all the campaign materials shortly and can serve as a warehouse for media wanting more information on McDonald's and cruelty to animals. Meanwhile, the campaign's themes are:  

1. "Animals deserve a break today; McDonald's: Cruelty to Go," with a picture of hanging bloodied pigs.

2. "Do you want fries with that? McDonald's: Cruelty to go," with a picture of a slaughtered cow's head.

3. "Son of Ron: America's #1 serial killer," with a psycho Ronald McDonald grabbing dead chickens and sporting a bloody butcher's knife.

4. "Good Mourning?! McDonald's: Cruelty to go," framed by dead pigs and battery hens.

Obviously, we want McDonald's to stop selling meat altogether, but here are the things we suggested that it do immediately to reduce suffering for countless animals. The first six are based on the McLibel verdict (areas where they were found to be "responsible for cruelty to animals") or U.S. law.

 1. Give chickens at least 1.5 square feet of living space, as recommended by the USDA. McDonald's allows just .55 square feet of room, which isn't even enough space to spread one wing.

2. Stop selling eggs from factory-farmed hens. Between four and seven hens are stuffed into tiny wire mesh cages which are stacked in warehouses, as many as 100,000 hens in these huge sheds. They can't breathe. They can't move. By the time they're shipped to slaughter, most are crippled or have broken bones. The conditions under which animals are being raised are so appalling that the entire European Union has decided to phase out battery cages.

3. Require improved standards for transportation. Animals raised for McDonald's food are handled so roughly during transport that every year, millions suffer broken bones and millions more die from the heat or cold.

4. Require improved standards for slaughter. To date, McDonald's has not even attempted to require its slaughterhouses to meet federal minimum standards for slaughter of cows and pigs (no standards exist for birds), which state that 100 percent of animals should be fully stunned before their throats are slit. In fact, McDonald's training video tells slaughterhouse workers that it's OK if five cows in every 100 can be conscious while they are skinned and dismembered-a direct violation of federal regulations. When the meat industry's own expert on animal handling suggested that with virtually no effort, McDonald's could require its suppliers to hire two stunners, thus markedly decreasing the number of animals who are skinned and dismembered while conscious, McDonald's refused.

5. Stop using genetically altered birds who suffer from painful leg deformities. The chickens McDonald's uses are genetically bred to grow so large, so fast that their legs can't bear their own weight.

6. Stop buying pigs from farms that keep sows in intensive confinement. These pigs live their entire lives in cement stalls, unable to turn around. Pregnant sows are often tethered to the front of iron grills, unable to nuzzle their babies or make a birthing "nest." These stalls are so cruel that they have been outlawed in the U.K., but McDonald's refuses to phase them out.

7. Offer a veggie burger at all U.S. McDonald's restaurants. (McDonald's currently offers veggie burgers and vegetarian nuggets in many of its European restaurants.)

Not only did McDonald's refuse to consider any of these steps, but the company is continuing to lie to consumers in its correspondence and in its Web site and is knowingly violating the only federal humane standard that exists (the Humane Slaughter Act) for animals raised for food.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
01 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; 757-622-PETA