Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Chocolate: the impact on people, and the ethical choices

I got an email from the Food Empowerment Project today. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (or, if you’re like me, Quirky Alone Day), they talk about chocolate. I’m posting the entire message from F.E.P. below, but I want to highlight the following, because it is well worth emphasizing:

According to a 2000 investigative report by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of children are being sold or stolen and taken to the Ivory Coast where they are forced into a life of slavery on the cocoa farms. Many are killed or beaten if they try to leave.

When a newly freed slave from a cocoa plantation in West Africa was asked if he knew what happened to the cocoa he harvested, he replied, “No.” Had he ever tasted chocolate? Again, “No.” So we asked him, what would you say to those millions of people who eat the chocolate made from the cocoa you have grown? “Tell them,” he said, “when they eat chocolate they are eating my flesh.

For those of us who work to speak out for animals who are exploited and killed for food, we can imagine that this is very close to what animals would say.

That makes you think, I hope. Somehow I lose my taste for chocolate when I know it costs lives.

The good news is that there is some ethical chocolate out there. I know it can be argued that even fair-trade chocolate has its issues, but the fair-trade chocolate (and tea and coffee) is purchased from collectives, usually, where fair prices are paid so the people working to grow the crops can afford to feed their families. If your favorite chocolates aren’t fair-trade, send them a note asking them why not, and switch to a fair-trade chocolate in the meantime. Even cocoa powder is available fair-trade!

Okay, the newsletter:

Food Empowerment Project Newsletter: February 6, 2008

Si usted necesita recibir este boletín de noticies en español,
favor de enviar un email a info@foodispower.org.

Contents

  1. The Dark Side of Chocolate
  2. Sjaak’s Fair Trade Organic Chocolates – Compassion can be sweet!
  3. Volunteer Opportunities

1. The Dark Side of Chocolate

The International Labor Organization estimates that about 200,000 children work on cocoa farms. Most of these children are in the country of the Ivory Coast, where approximately 43% of the world’s cocoa originates. According to a 2000 investigative report by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of children are being sold or stolen and taken to the Ivory Coast where they are forced into a life of slavery on the cocoa farms. Many are killed or beaten if they try to leave.

When a newly freed slave from a cocoa plantation in West Africa was asked if he knew what happened to the cocoa he harvested, he replied, “No.” Had he ever tasted chocolate? Again, “No.” So we asked him, what would you say to those millions of people who eat the chocolate made from the cocoa you have grown? “Tell them,” he said, “when they eat chocolate they are eating my flesh.”

For those of us who work to speak out for animals who are exploited and killed for food, we can imagine that this is very close to what animals would say.

As consumers, we have the power to refuse to support these types of practices by simply choosing which products to buy. It is Valentine’s season and you may ask, “What can I do?” and “What do I buy?” and the answer is to buy Fair Trade cocoa and chocolate products that you can confirm do not come from the Ivory Coast (as there is no organic chocolate produced in the Ivory Coast, organic seems to be free of these types of practices).

For more about the chocolate slavery issue, please visit:
http://www.foodrevolution.org/slavery_chocolate.htm

2. Sjaak’s Fair Trade Organic Chocolates – Compassion can be sweet!

Show your loved ones that compassion can be sweet! As part of Food Empowerment Project’s commitment to provide you with the knowledge to empower yourself to make compassionate and just food choices, we want to help you buy Valentine’s Day treats that are both animal-free and do not contribute to the injustices mentioned above.

Sjaak’s has a great selection of Fair Trade-organic-vegan-chocolates that are delicioso! Now you can support an industry that is fair to its workers, doesn’t contribute to animal suffering and adds an extra bonus – it tastes great too!

Although the packaging may not indicate it, ALL of Sjaak’s chocolate is Fair Trade.

To order from their delicious vegan selection, please visit:
http://sjaaks.com/categories/show/Vegan+Chocolates

We recommend trying the peanut butter cups! Yum!

Also, check out our Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe:
http://veganmexicanfood.com/chocolate.htm

3. Volunteer Opportunities

The Food Empowerment Project is looking for volunteers to do some research and writing that will be used for our website and for fact sheets for city and county officials, as well as general outreach.

We have a variety of issues we want to cover, so e-mail us at info@foodispower.org if you are interested and let us know if you want to help with writing, research or both. We look forward to hearing from you!

Please forward and distribute this newsletter freely.

To sign up for the F.E.P. newsletters, visit http://www.foodispower.org/fep_signup.htm

For our Spanish-language sign-up form, visit http://www.foodispower.org/fep_signup_ca.htm

Add us on myspace.com, visit: http://www.myspace.com/foodempowermentproject

Want to get cookin’? For vegan Mexican recipes visit: http://www.veganmexicanfood.com

The Food Empowerment Project, P.O. Box 7071, San Jose, CA 95150-7071 — Online at www.FoodIsPower.org

sunrise in florida
About these ads

3 responses to “Chocolate: the impact on people, and the ethical choices

  1. girl least likely to February 7, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    thanks for sharing this, deb. i will admit to total ignorance–i’ve bought fair trade chocolate before, many times, but i didn’t really know the story behind it. i’m going to try to be much more conscious about this. the good news: i LOOOOVE the sjaak’s peanut butter cups! woo hoo!

  2. Deb February 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    gllt, I was the same way for a long time. The problem is that the vast majority of companies are unethical, and so we need to become really good label readers and social justice experts (sort of) to navigate the choices we have. Glad you already love the sjaak’s pb cups! There are other fair trade chocolates too, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to contact your former favorite vegan chocolate companies to ask them why they can’t be ethical towards humans as well as other animals. :)

  3. Pingback: Jeremy and Lenny: Rescued from Death at a Small Local Dairy « Animal Rights & AntiOppression

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 616 other followers

%d bloggers like this: