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McLibel Support Campaign
from IVU Newsletter, April/May 1996

Some time ago we reported on the long trial taking place in London of two animal rights activists who were taken to court by the McDonalds Corporation accused of libel due to the message contained in leaflets they were giving to people going into McDonalds fast food restaurants. Helen Steel and Dave Morris, the two concerned, were unemployed and have no assets so they cannot pay any award the court might make should they be found guilty. Most people threatened by court action have had to apologise since they were unable to afford the risk of having to pay large amounts in court costs and compensation if a case was won by McDonalds. Of course, McDonalds, a massive international organisation has the resources to fight any action.

The trial began in June 1994 and was expected to last until the Autumn of 1996. In December 1995 it became the longest civil case in British legal history. It is understood that McDonalds have tried to discontinue the action due to the adverse publicity and the problems due to the two defendants providing factual evidence which damages McDonalds image. A total of approximately 180 UK and international witnesses (including Dr Neal Barnard and Howard Lyman who is currently appearing) have been called as witnesses to the effects of the company's operations on the environment, on millions of farmed animals, on human health, on the Third World and on McDonalds own staff. Mc Donalds are so worried about the way the case is going for them and the bad publicity that they have twice flown members of their United States Board of Directors to London to meet with the defendants to seek ways of ending the case. It is still not clear when the case will end but it continues to get good publicity for the animal movement and bad publicity for McDonalds. Money is needed to help the legal battle. Donations are invited.

Send cheques to:
McLibel Support Campaign, c/o 5, Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX, England

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.