Halloween is just around the corner, which got me thinking about chocolate. Actually, that’s a lie. It doesn’t take a holiday to get me thinking about chocolate, tee hee.
I promised at this blog’s inception that there would be lots of chocolate talk. I am still formulating the topics I would like to blog about concerning chocolate. And by the way, if you have questions or want to suggest anything, be sure to leave a comment! However, before I begin doing any kind of extensive blogging on the topic, I want to start at the very beginning. And as one of my idols, Julie Andrews, said, that’s a very good place to start!
At the risk of repeating myself, I love love love love chocolate. I love eating it, sipping it, smelling it, seeing it, and if I could have every one of my toiletries be chocolate-scented, well then gosh darn it, I would even wear it! Maybe not everyone is like me, but the vast majority of people love chocolate. Whether you’re here in the U.S or beyond, everyone eats chocolate! In other words, there’s A LOT of chocolate production going on! I never gave this concept much thought. If I needed or, shoot, just wanted chocolate, I could pop in to any number of stores and get whatever I wanted. No problem…or is there?
One day when I was listening to my favorite podcast, Our Hen House, a member from the Food Empowerment Project was being interviewed. According to FEP’s website, their goal is to “encourage healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas.” Their work is so important, so noble, and brings to light many issues that we in our overly-convenienced society probably never even consider.
What struck me most was FEP’s commitment to slavery-free chocolate. And yes, you read that right–slavery! Uh….what?! But this is 2012!!! Sadly, there are still many cocoa farms that harvest cocoa through regular child labor and/or slavery. That means all my life of growing up and eating chocolate, I have been consuming chocolate at the hands of children and slaves. And I’m one person. Furthermore, you can bet your plant-loving buns that most of us have been supporting an industry that STILL incorporates heinous practices such as child labor and slavery. As much as I love chocolate, is it worth child labor? Is it worth enslavement? Am I willing to spend more money on slavery-free chocolate, which in turn means eating it a lot less frequently? Maybe not even eating baked goods out in restaurants or at parties? This would be a major adjustment for sure! But I am willing to begin the process. If I can give up cheese to protect mother cows and boycott the veal industry, and stop eating eggs in order to no longer contribute to battery cages, debeaking and male-chick death, then SURELY I am willing to rethink my position when it comes to chocolate and child labor/slavery.
Thankfully, FEP has put together (and continues to update) a list of chocolate products whose companies source from truly ethical sources vs. companies whose chocolate we should basically say “no” to. Like I said, this will require changes on my part and will take some time. And as always, I won’t strive for perfection because frankly, it doesn’t exist, folks. But with this new knowledge, I can no longer feign ignorance. To choose to ignore the facts would mean putting fellow human beings, no matter how far away or how unlikely it is that we will ever meet, to work under inhumane practices.
No thank you.
What about you? Will you read the information on FEP’s website and educate yourself? Furthermore, will you change your buying habits? I would love to know your thoughts on this matter and what other ethical issues this might raise for you. As always, thank you for reading!
*inset image from Food Empowerment Project website