With Easter coming up this weekend it is timely to look at a couple of industries and how we should approach our purchases for the Easter season.
Many of you may have read some of my previous posts on child exploitation and human trafficking, it is a subject I feel strongly about. However what you may not realise is how your purchasing decisions can have an impact on the most evil of trades.
Many of us this weekend will gorge ourselves on chocolate, myself included, and some of us on Friday will not eat red meat and will feed on fish instead, I’m not one of those.
For those who are part of the fishing or chocolate industries this is the busiest time of the year without question. For those of us who aren’t in the industry it is the time of year where we head to the supermarket and fill a trolley with chocolate eggs, and head to the seafood store to buy hideously overpriced prawns and fish. Some brave souls will even cut a path to the fish market, which turns into a moshpit for the morning as people struggle to grab anything that smells like it once lived underwater.
I wanted to let my readers know briefly about what is happening behind the scenes in these industries so that you can be better informed when spending your cash, as it is cash that makes all the difference, nothing else has the influence of a few bucks.
When eating your chocolate this weekend I hope you don’t end up with a horrible aftertaste that many of the cheaper brands of chocolate can leave you with. That aftertaste could well be the blood sweat and tears of children.
Most of the world’s cocoa, which is the main ingredient in chocolate, comes from West Africa. The Cocoa is grown on farms and then harvested in 35 degree heat by children as young as 6. These children are put to work in fields, often loaded with pesticides, to swing machetes and carry heavy loads all day.
While the Gina Rineharts and Tony Abbotts of this world may call this maximising efficiency, most of us would label this practice barbaric. These children are used as slaves and often end up suffering terrible symptoms after breathing in pesticides all day in the humidity and heat. Nausea, diarrhoea, and migraine headaches are common, many even end up with cancer and kidney and liver problems.
Human trafficking is also common in the production of cocoa, workers are often trafficked around the different farms as required for harvest. Many of those who are victims of trafficking are children, forced into slave labour so that their family can afford to eat.
There is more information in the factsheet that I have linked below which has been produced by World Vision.
For those who are yet to buy Easter eggs, there is also a link to a Good Chocolate Guide below. Please take the time to have a look at this or forward it to your friends as buying from company’s that have ethical practices is extremely important in the battle for human rights. The Good Chocolate guide also has a list of retailers where you can buy ethical chocolate. Also linked below is a Chocolate Scorecard from World Vision, you may be surprised at which companies tick all the boxes and which ones don’t, I was.
The seafood industry also is plagued with child labour and human trafficking. The vast majority of the worlds seafood comes via Asia and there is so much exploitation of families living in small fishing villages it is impossible to measure. Despite being an island that is famous for its seafood, in Australia we import approximately 75% of our seafood from Asia.
Children in remote villages with no access to education are often forced to work on unsafe fishing vessels that are verging on breaking apart and fill with water faster than a Hollywood producers Jacuzzi. Many of these children die at sea, many are forced from their home for weeks, and some are even forced to carry human cargo and are labelled as the worst of the worst by people like Tony Abbott calling them ruthless people smugglers, elevated from being a desperate starving child to a criminal mastermind in one Abbott or Morrison press conference.
The golden rule when it comes to buying your seafood is to buy Australian. If you are unsure, ask at your seafood retailer which seafood is from an Australian source.
The reason I stress buy Australian is not only is it better for our economy, but you can be reasonably sure that the seafood has come from an ethical source. Below is a link to Seafood Factsheet from World Vision that goes into far more detail and is quite eye-opening.
However, it is not just the human rights violations that are an issue when it comes to fish, there are environmental concerns also.
Sustainability is a word that we don’t hear often from the Coalition, but we here it so often from the Tony Burke you would think it was his middle name, it is in fact in his title as Federal Minister For Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
The reason that sustainability is so important is that many fish are in danger of being wiped out, as we are consuming them faster than they can breed. This is the reason we are so protective of our waters, so that they are not overfished by operators from other countries who don’t care about the sustainability of species.
We have the best seafood in the world, and we need to ensure it is still around for future generations to enjoy.
When it comes to sustainability it is best to consult an expert, and the Australian Marine Conservation Society are at the top of that list. In fact they have published a book on the best way to purchase seafood simply titled Sustainable Seafood Guide. For those who don’t want to purchase a book, there is an interactive advice page on their website.
For those with an iPhone there is an app available for free from iTunes via this link, or for those with a QR Code Reader the below code will take you straight to the app on your iPhone. The iPhone app even covers canned Tuna.
For those who just want something they can print out, the kind folk at the Australian Marine Conservation Society have done a PDF especially for us which can be viewed printed or downloaded via the below link.
I hope all of my readers have a sustainable and ethical Easter, and I hope you all enjoy your extra days off and stay safe on the roads.
I should also add for the sake of the kids, that I have consulted with the Easter Bunny regarding the eggs that will be delivered. I have been assured all eggs from the Easter Bunny are 100% ethical.
I hope everyone else follows suit.