Animal Rebellion, an animal and climate justice movement that uses nonviolent civil disobedience to call for a sustainable plant-based food system, is demanding that McDonald’s becomes fully plant-based by 2025.
On May 22, protestors from the animal rights group blockaded all four of McDonald’s UK distribution centres, which supply approximately 1300 restaurants and serve 3.5 million customers each day. The 50+ protestors intended to continue the blockade for at least 24 hours, using trucks and bamboo structures, causing significant disruption to the McDonald’s supply chain.
The protestors stopped lorries from leaving depots with messages such as “Meat & Dairy = Climate Crisis” and “Plant-Based Food System”. Their aim was to highlight the impact of animal agriculture on global climate and they targeted distribution sites in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Heywood.
The group said that McDonald’s is just a symbol of the system they are trying to change, which is the entire animal agriculture industry. They call for a transition to plant-based food system to stop the climate crisis and end the suffering of animals.
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 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% by 2050. 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% and greenhouse gas emissions by 49% from current global levels.
Dave Morris, former McLibel Trial defendant said “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.”
Investigations have revealed that the fast-food chain has had a role in the illegal destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
According to a press release by Animal Rebellion, the UK 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, a change could be initiated.