Most people abhor slavery. At Animal Place, we refuse to accept that it is okay to exploit farmed animals for their flesh, milk, eggs or any other by-product. Extending our compassion to farmed animals does not mean we endorse or support the abuse of humans. In fact, quite the opposite.
We also love chocolate. At our weekly vegan staff potlucks, it is always a joy to eat vegan chocolate cupcakes or cake. It makes most of us very happy (we have a couple staff members who prefer non-chocolate treats, but that’s just so weird that the rest of us pretend they love chocolate too).
But loving the taste of something never trumps suffering. While of course we do not endorse the consumption of non-vegan chocolate products, all of us have been forced to look at our choices when it comes to buying vegan chocolate. Yes, we’re human too!
75% of the world’s cocoa (sold to chocolate companies) comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The truth is, many cocoa plantations force children into slave labor to harvest cocoa. Children may be stolen or sold to cocoa plantations and may never see their families again. You can learn more about the slave industry in cocoa production at the Food Empowerment Project’s (FEP) site.
Most consumers are unaware of the brutality behind every chocolate bar they purchase. The governments of the Ivory Coast and Ghana lack sufficient resources to properly monitor and prosecute violations. The largest chocolate companies have done virtually nothing to modify their own behavior. They are relying on YOUR blind faith and lack of knowledge. That is wrong.
The Food Empowerment Project has tackled this issue in myriad ways. Since you and I cannot change the governments of the Ivory Coast and Ghana, we have to empower ourselves to make better, kinder choices. And thank goodness for F.E.P. for giving us that chance. They have compiled a list of approved vegan chocolates that do not rely on the exploitation of humans OR nonhumans to produce!
The picture you see is of some vegan fudge I purchased from Allison’s Gourmet. Yes, making more ethical chocolate-choices will cost more money. But I know people can be incredibly compassionate and amazing. People can choose to reduce or eliminate chocolate, because we do not need it to survive (**shock**).
Join us in choosing ethical chocolate!
-Marji Beach, Education Manager