PROTESTERS FROM ANIMAL REBELLION are targeting McDonald’s today, blockading all four of their UK distribution centres, which supply approximately 1,300 restaurants and serve 3.5 million customers each day.
The distribution sites are in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Heywood.
The protests taking place across the country are “calling out the animal agriculture industry for their part in the global climate crisis, by causing economic disruption to the McDonald’s supply chain,” says the network of activists.
They are linking animal rights issues with the action needed to protect people and planet, workers’ rights, and the requirement for a radical reordering of priorities and practices in the relationship between human beings, the wider animal world and the earth.
Around 50 protestors have been using trucks and bamboo structures at four locations to stop lorries from leaving depots this morning. They have been using messages such as “Meat and Dairy = Climate Crisis” and “Plant-Based Food System!”
The activists say that they intend to stay for at least 24 hours. Their aim is to cause a large-scale disruption to the McDonald’s supply chain, where restaurants may suffer a shortage of stock.
Animal Rebellion, a movement using nonviolent civil disobedience to call for a sustainable plant-based food system, is demanding that McDonald’s becomes fully plant-based by 2025. However, they add that McDonald’s is just one symbol and example of the system they are trying to change, which is the entire animal agriculture industry.
James Ozden, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: “The meat and dairy industry is destroying our planet, causing huge amounts of rainforest deforestation, emitting immense quantities of greenhouse gases and killing billions of animals each year.
“The only sustainable and realistic way to feed ten billion people is with a plant-based food system. Organic, free-range and ‘sustainable’ animal-based options simply aren’t good enough.”
According to the EAT Lancet report, if the world hopes to feed 10 billion people and stay within planetary boundaries, we need to reduce red meat and milk consumption by 90 per cent by 2050.
A 2018 study into the environmental impacts of food production – claimed by Animal Rebellion to be the most comprehensive of its kind – indicated that a plant-based food system could reduce farmland usage by 76 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by 49 per cent from current global levels.
Dave Morris, former McLibel Trial defendant, added “All that McDonalds and similar corporations care about is making massive profits, in any way they can get away with. To do this, they exploit their customers, workers, farm animals and the environment.
“Instead of tolerating this any longer, society needs to act to reclaim control over the world’s resources and decision-making, and make sure that we create a sustainable and decent future for ourselves and future generations.”
Nick More, a renewable energy developer and a member of Amazon Rebellion, said: “McDonald’s and the wider animal agriculture industry is clearly responsible for huge levels of deforestation in the Amazon Basin and wider Pantanal region. Despite their apparent greenwashing, there is no transparency in their supply chain or independent audit sufficient to support their claims that they are not a driver of deforestation. “
Investigations have suggested that that food chain has had a role in the illegal destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. And, with 80 per cent of the Amazon’s deforestation occurring due to cattle ranching, protestors argue that this is a problem which needs to be addressed urgently.
Animal Rebellion say that they also support the McStrike and ‘Fight for $15’, movements calling for better treatment of fast food workers. McDonald’s workers in 15 US cities went on strike for higher wages on 19 May 2021, the day before the company’s annual shareholders meeting.
They want the fast food giant to pay all its employees at least $15 per hour, almost double the current minimum wage in many parts of the US.
* Sources: Animal Rebellion; social media reports