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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
McDonalds enters animal cruelty debate
McDonalds restaurant
Consumers are voting with their feet
Shareholders in fast-food giant McDonalds are to be given the chance to vote on whether the chain should introduce animal welfare standards worldwide.

The inclusion of this proposal in the agenda for the company's annual general meeting next month comes despite opposition from the McDonald's board.

The proposal calls for the burger chain to extend the animal treatment guidelines which are in place in Britain and the United States to all 121 countries around the world where it does business.

The US-based pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was behind the resolution.

'Cruel' treatment

PETA takes the view that some of the practices that McDonalds supports - even in the United States and the United Kingdom - are still cruel.

Beef meet carcasses
McDonalds suppliers are under the spotlight

"We have undercover footage of a McDonalds supplier in India slitting the throats of goats and then tossing the animals in a pile to bleed to death," said PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich.

"And in footage from El Salvador, men are attempting to stun cattle by stabbing them repeated in the back of the neck.

"With few animal standards in much of the world one can assume the level of the abuse is going on would really revolt people anywhere in the developed world."

In the past McDonalds have objected to the United States' financial regulators about PETA's proposed resolution on the grounds of excessive length which would take up too much time and the annual general meeting.

However, PETA saw this as a "pretty pathetic last grasp effort" and suggest that caring consumers are not going to accept cruelty and animal abuse even if is going on in other countries.

Bruce Friedrich, Ethical Treatment of Animals
"There are so few animal welfare standards in much of the world."
See also:

02 Apr 02 | Business
Caffe Nero buys rival coffee chain
05 Jan 01 | Europe
Europe's growing concern
21 Dec 01 | Your Reports
'Animals have feelings too'
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