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No second helping for McDonald's

McDonald's, the fast-food giant, has in effect conceded that the campaign against its products, practices and corporate philosophy is unstoppable.

Despite winning a not insubstantial part of its epic libel battle against Dave Morris and Helen Steel last month, the corporation has not applied for an injunction to prevent further dissemination of the "What's Wrong With McDonald's" factsheet that sparked the pounds 10m 314-day trial, the longest in English legal history. The deadline for an injunction application expired on Thursday night.

The latest version of the leaflet, first published in 1986 and since distributed worldwide, accuses the corporation of "promoting unhealthy food, exploiting workers, robbing the poor, damaging the environment, murdering animals" and attempted "censorship".

Ms Steel, 31, said: " ... they are accepting that they cannot stop distribution of the leaflet."

A McDonald's spokesman said that "it was our intention to bring the action in order to establish that the allegations were untrue. That has been achieved."

But the judge did rule that Mr Morris and Ms Steel had proved that the corporation was "culpably responsible" for cruel practices towards animals, had exploited children in its advertising, and paid low wages that helped depress pay for other catering workers.

Mr Morris, 43, and Ms Steel are working on an appeal against the parts of the judgment that went against them; that the leaflet's wording meant that McDonald's had been wrongly accused of causing starvation in the Third World, destroying vast areas of central American rainforest, and serving unhealthy food that caused a real risk of cancer, heart disease and food poisoning.