Make McDonald's plant-based - protesters

| 15th July 2021

McDonalds burger factory blocked by Animal Rebellion, Scunthorpe, UK. 

Animal Rebellion
BREAKING: Animal Rebellion blockading McDonald’s burger factory, which produces 3 million beef patties per day.

We’re living in a time where massive change is possible, but our window to act on the climate crisis is closing quickly.

Climate campaigners with Animal Rebellion are calling on people to “bring their tents” and come to Scunthorpe as they blockade a factory which produces all of McDonald’s iconic beef burger patties, with three million burgers made per day.

As many as 100 protestors set up a blockade using trucks, tents, bamboo structures and a roof occupation in the early hours of this morning to stop the facility from distributing burgers.

The protestors have said they will stay as long as it takes until McDonald’s commits to changing towards a plant-based menu.

Agriculture

They are encouraging everyone to join the camp and protest against McDonald’s for their track record of destroying the environment, poor labour conditions and animal exploitation.

Professor Joy Carter, emeritus professor of geochemistry and health, University of Winchester said: “There is no second chance in averting climate breakdown – we have just one opportunity to get this right.

"We need to radically change our food system and it must start with the meat and dairy industry. Until we make large-scale systemic changes and move towards a plant-based food system, we will continue to destroy our planet.”

Animal Rebellion, a mass 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.

They have said that they will end the blockade if McDonald’s makes the first step towards this goal by committing to becoming 20 percent plant-based within a year. However, they say McDonald’s is just a symbol of the system they are trying to change, which is the entire animal agriculture industry.

Planetary

Rose Patterson, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: “We’re living in a time where massive change is possible, but our window to act on the climate crisis is closing quickly.

"The meat and dairy industries are responsible for 80-90 percent of Amazon deforestation, at least 18 percent of global emissions, and for exploiting and killing billions of animals every year.

"To save ourselves and the future of our children, we must start transitioning towards a plant-based food system.”

This protest comes after the group shut down four McDonald’s distribution centres two months ago to call out the meat and dairy industries for their role in the climate and ecological emergency causing economic disruption to McDonald’s supply chain.

According to a 2019 EAT Lancet report, if we hope to feed 10 billion people and stay within planetary boundaries, we need to reduce red meat and milk consumption by 90 percent by 2050.

We’re living in a time where massive change is possible, but our window to act on the climate crisis is closing quickly.

Crisis

A 2018 study into the environmental impacts of food production – the most comprehensive of its kind – found that a plant-based food system could reduce farmland usage by 76 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 49 percent from current global levels.

Additionally, independent thinktank RethinkX predicts that 90 percent of jobs in the meat and dairy industry in the US will be lost by 2035.

Harley McDonald Eckersall, from Animal Rebellion, said: “We can forecast similar impacts in the UK as the industry rapidly transitions to more sustainable options.

"Not transitioning away from animal farming will mean economic and social damage, as we are going to see millions of people lose their jobs in the next decade.

"These are real people with real lives - McDonald’s has a responsibility to bring about this change before the choice is taken out of their hands.”

Currently, the government, and the agricultural industry, has no plan in place to transition the UK agricultural industry to net-zero by 2050. However, if chains like McDonald’s take responsibility for their part in the global climate crisis, we could start moving in the right direction.

Meat

The protest is taking place on the same day that a landmark review commissioned by the government finds that the nation’s diets need to transform with people eating less sugar, salt and meat to save lives and protect the NHS and the environment.

The National Food Strategy warns what we eat, and how it is produced, is doing “terrible damage” to the environment and health, contributing to 64,000 deaths a year in England and driving wildlife loss and climate change.

The independent report, commissioned by the UK Government, in 2019 calls for a sugar and salt reformulation tax to cut their use in products and curb obesity, strokes and heart disease.

Some money raised by the tax should be spent on addressing the inequalities around food, such as expanding free school meals to another 1.1 million children who need them, funding holiday activity and food clubs, and providing healthy food to low income families.

The report also urges the government to run trials giving GPs the option to prescribe fruit and vegetables for patients suffering from poor diets or food insecurity.

But while it says meat consumption should be cut by 30 percent in a decade to cut emissions and free up land for storing carbon and preserving nature, the report rules out a meat tax as politically impossible and unpopular.

This Author

Brendan Montague is a co-editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Animal Rebellion and copy from PA.  To join the rebellion and call for a more sustainable food system, visit the Animal Rebellion website.

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