Information for consumers about how their spending habits affect human rights, animal rights and welfare, and the environment.
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2014 August 6: 75 workers die for sake of shiny hubcaps
Although the plant was equipped with dust-removal gear, “workers who escaped the blast said the production lines were always enveloped in metallic dust so thick that visibility was severely impaired.” In addition to shoddy facilities, workers reportedly lacked appropriate safety training and had inadequate gear—just ”goggles and a cotton face mask, which could not prevent exposure to dust particles.” "Noting the irony that GM recently won praise as a leading “Fortune 500 company in the area of corporate social responsibility,” US-based watchdog China Labor Watch stated that the company “has a duty to ensure safe production in its supply chain, and it shares responsibility for this deadly explosion.”"
2014 August 1: Do lab monkeys suffer from depression?. Do monkeys who have never known anything different mind being subjected to repeated experiments on their brains? It is a question that the Home Office is currently examining." "parts of their brain removed or coils implanted in their eyes" " some of them can be operated on as many as 10 times over a period of years - or the psychological impact of a lifetime in the laboratory" "Researchers say most monkeys, who have been bred and trained for laboratory work, do not put up a fight when experiments are conducted on them. Does that mean they have given their "consent"?" 'Behavioural problems' Do they find it a positive experience? Or is their passivity down to the fact that they are suffering from severe depression?
2014 July 27: Reuters report says "Chinese food company "Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, owned by Illinois-based OSI Group LLC is accused of using expired meat in its smoked beef patties. Chinese regulators are investigating.
2014 June 27: Drones will document factory farm abuses
Journalist Will Potter is raising funds to film factory farms from drones to raise awareness of abuse of animals and the environment by big agriculture. Filming on farms by animal rights activists has been controversial and in some states illegal, with activists claiming filming is necessary to expose horrible suffering by animals (see for example, chickens being abused and then buried alive) and farmers claiming it is an invasion of privacy.
2014 June 16: BBC on extinction threat to African elephants.
"The office of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) said poaching levels were far above the elephant birth rate." Organized crime and demand from China contribute to the large illegal lucrative trade in ivory. Some progress has been made, but it has been irregular.
2014 June 13: Crustacians, Pain, and Anxiety
BBC says recent experiments show that crustaceans (such as crayfish, lobsters, crabs, shrimp) not only experience pain, but exhibit behavior suggestive of anxiety. "Crustaceans are not considered sentient by bodies such as the European Food Safety Authority, and there are no regulations concerning their treatment." There is no way to tell whether the animals experience pain and anxiety in the ways we do, but some argue there should be regulations as a precautionary measure.
2014 June 4: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel has issued a consolidated complaint against Walmart alleging that the company violated the rights of its employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests in 13 states."....
"The National Labor Relations Act guarantees the right of private sector employees to act together to try to improve their wages and working conditions with or without a union. The consolidated complaint involves more than 60 employees, 19 of whom were discharged allegedly as a result of their participation in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act."
Fair Trade News: Fair World Project works to protect the strength and integrity of the term fair trade.
Special Report: Chocolate
2013: How to make sure your chocolate purchases do not support child slavery.
Special Report: Torture
There is hope! Please see the post on a January 2012 anti-torture resolution by the city of Chicago, and how other municipalities can do the same. If you do not see it at first, refresh the page by clicking the refresh button on your browser bar or pressing the f5 key.
Special Report: Fair Trade
2013 update summarizes changes in standards and controversy over increasing availability of products with the certification by making it easier to get certified vs. maintaining more rigorous standards. Fair World Project offers suggestions for resolving the conflict by making product labels more transparent about percentage of ingredients that are certified.
Special Report: Modern-Day Slavery
2012 Oct. 3: good news!Green America reports that Hershey Co. "will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks."
2012 Oct. 5: more good news! Chipotle signed the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Trader Joe's signed back in February 2012.