I was on one of my FB sites dedicated to anti-speciesism. Someone posted this photo below.
I do understand why they posted this. But…
…I felt compelled to mention that strawberry harvesting, though not nearly as visually ‘gruesome’ and as directly ‘cruel’ as slaughtering non-human animals, does not mean that the harvesting of strawberries is cruelty-free (as applied to those of us who buy strawberries vs. those of us who have the ‘privilege’ of growing our own to pick). Thousands of human laborers, mostly brown people from what is considered Latin America, harvest strawberries (and many other vegetables and fruits) in cruel conditions. Being sprayed with pesticides, not having access to clean water and toilets, working for poverty level wages, etc are what a significant number of what these folk must go through. I don’t mean to throw a wrench in this image and text’s meanings, but I really think this is something I often see being elided within talks about how one’s conscious is more ‘clean’ by eating vegan diets of fruits and veggies in North America. Once again, I am not saying or equating the slaughter of non-human animals as the SAME as exploited and abused human farm laborers; both practices are disgusting and cause a lot of pain and suffering. However, I just want to point out that the former (non human animal slaughter) is always made visible amongst the vegan mainstream in the USA, while the latter (harvesting strawberries or other plants for human consumption under horrible and insufferable conditions) is painted as something one need not think deeply about [since non-human animals weren’t directly harmed].
Here is a book that can help us think more about not getting swept up in what looks like an ‘easy’ binary to make. The cover has a laborer picking strawberries. Click on the title to learn more:
The Food Empowerment Project, a pro-vegan organization, also advocates more awareness around the human cruelty endured by farm laborers. Lauren Ornelas, ED of the Food Empowerment Project, discusses these issues in this video below:
Enjoy this article? See what Dr. Harper is doing for her next book project and how you help fund it. Click below.
The last chapter of my dissertation is about the work Food Empowerment Project is doing against slavery in the cocoa industry. They are having a special event on November 9th. It’s in the Northern California Area. Hope you can make it. The info is below.
Issue in Focus: The Chocolate Industry
Date: Saturday, November 9th
TimeL 6:00pm until 9:00pm in PST
Come join the Food Empowerment Project for our first ever public event. We will be in the heart of the Mission showing two short films:
The Dark Side of Chocolate
The Shady Side of Chocolate
We will have raffles, food, and beverages as well as a Q&A and short video about cows in the dairy industry.
Additionally, we will be using this as a chance to gather donations for a local food bank.
About 1.8 million children toil in West Africa’s chocolate industry, where they may be exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including hazardous work and slavery. Please sign the petition asking Clif Bar to disclose where they get their cocoa beans
This is a video of the keynote address of Dr. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project and Lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project. We did an interactive keynote discussion format for the the Portland State University’s “Resistance Ecology” conference on June 1, 2013.
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