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Healthy eating: PETA's McCruelty campaign

Features | Published in TES Newspaper on 21 August, 2009

Original magazine headline: Unhappy meals

If talk of health benefits and five-a-day isn’t buttering the parsnips, animal rights activists have hit on a new tool to promote healthy eating: tell children where their McNuggets come from.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been ruffling a few feathers with their McCruelty campaign, aiming to highlight what the group claims is a cruel slaughter process for chickens destined to end up in a McDonald’s carton.

Campaign logos include a knife-wielding Ronald McDonald and upside-down chickens with blood dripping from their throats. An accompanying video shows chickens suspended by the legs struggling before and after their throats are cut and they are plunged into boiling water.

Some parents have objected to the group targeting children with such graphic scenes, but PETA argues that children exposed to violent films or video games will take these images in their stride.

In response, McDonald’s says it promotes animal welfare and supports slaughter methods that stun the chickens before they are killed. But as PETA’s campaigns start to get more attention, chances are McDonald’s isn’t lovin’ it.

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