José Bové
"The French people...are with us in this fight against
junk food and against globalization." - José Bové
  • Leader of anti-globalization movement in France
  • Sheep farmer and leader of France's "Confederation Paysanne" (organizes small farmers to take actions in support of traditional French agriculture)
  • Fight against hormone-laced beef led McDonald's to make the decision to serve only French meat that comes "from the farm"
  • Arrested in 1998 for attacks on genetically-modified crops (prison sentence was suspended)
  • August 1999, Bové and sympathizers trashed a McDonald's restaurant being built in Millau (small town in southwest region of Aveyron)
  • November 1999, helped disrupt a WTO meeting in Seattle
  • 45,000 gathered in support of Bové during trial in Millau (local McDonald's kept doors closed during the two days of hearings)
  • Bové was finally sentenced to three months in jail in April of 2002
  • To retaliate against the French for placing a ban on hormone-treated American beef, the USA imposed a WTO approved 100% tariff on Roquefort cheese (produced by Bové and fellow fighting farmers)
French Political Leaders on the Case of José Bové:

French President Jacques Chirac

Former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
"I am in complete solidarity with France's farm workers, and I detest McDonald's."
"I am personally not very
McDonald's Response to Extremist Groups:
"McDonald's is about men, women, children, parents, people who work, and people who love living. It is not simply a symbol. By singling out McDonald's, the worst has happened. That is enough." (excerpt from "Assez!" article published in Le Monde)
In 2000, McDonald's placed a full page advertisement in French newspapers begging extremist groups to put an end to violent attacks against its restaurants. Apart from Bové's actions, one restaurant was bombed (causing the death of an employee) and another was the target of an arson attack.

Assez! = Enough!
Return to Cultural Concerns