Palm oil is an edible oil derived from the pulp of fruits of the oil palm. It is used in margarine, shortening, cooking oil, soups, sauces, crackers, and other baked goods. After soybean oil, it is the world’s most widely used oil.
Bad Ethics: Palm oil plantations require a tremendous amount of deforestation and severe human injustice and suffering.
Replace With: coconut oil or babassu oil
A paté made from goose or duck liver and is a common French food that is now becoming popular in the U.S.
Bad Ethics: Birds are force-fed with steel pipes rammed down their throats. The animals suffer injuries, tear out their own feathers and eat each other from the stress.
Replace With: lentil-walnut paté, hummus or white bean puree
A “royal delicacy” that is found in Asian soups despite the unpopular criticism in Asia. There is an estimated 75 million sharks killed each year which threatens the future of several important species. Even more, obtaining the shark fins is extremely cruel.
Bad Ethics: Sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, and their mutilated bodies are then tossed back into the ocean where they bleed to death, drown or are eaten by other animals.
Replace With: soups loaded with veggies and herbs
Veal is baby cow meat. The baby cows farmed for meat come from the dairy industry which treats its animals with unyielding cruelty.
Bad Ethics: Cows are constantly pregnant in order to produce milk and newborn baby cows. The babies are then taken from their mothers and forced into veal stalls that are too small for standing or movement. These farmed cows live in darkness while their muscles atrophy which makes them too weak to stand. When they are led to slaughter, many are trampled because their muscles are too weak after months of abuse.
Replace With: seitan (made from wheat gluten, mimics the taste and texture of meat) or tempeh (made from soybeans – just like tofu!)
Commercial eggs have a high ethical cost. The majority of commercially farmed eggs come from ~300 million chickens living in battery cages. These cages are criminally small (45,72×50,8 cm) and hold between 5 to 10 birds at a time.
Bad Ethics: Most birds never experience spreading their wings while in captivity. The physical and mental stress leads the birds to violent fighting and cannibalism. Many suffer through major injuries and illnesses. Additionally, most commercially farmed eggs come from birds that are injected with hormones and chemicals that contribute to the unsustainable practices of industrial agriculture.
Replace With: locally sourced free-range, organic eggs that you can verify are sourced humanely, organic tofu, and chia or flax seed gel for baking
Did you know that pigs are even more intelligent than dogs? But because we see them as food, we oftentimes dismiss their personalities and livelihoods. Sadly, pigs are hyper-aware of the pain and suffering they endure when being farmed as food.
Bad Ethics: Mother pigs live in gestation crates that are too small for movement or even standing. Pigs are also constantly impregnated until their bodies give out. The newborn piglets are taken away after just the bare minimum of nursing.
Replace With: plant proteins like beans, lentils and nuts, tempeh bacon (which is made from soybeans) and Tofurky sausage
Need milk? Not really! In reality, humans do not need animal milk to live healthy and nutritious lives. However, the dairy industry continues to dominate the marketing of animal milk as a necessity. Even worse is the industry’s treatment of animals to produce milk products.
Bad Ethics: Cows are constantly and forcefully inseminated. Their young babies are taken away and many are killed young to be sold as veal. The majority of cows are not milked by hand; they are tethered to harsh mechanical machines that infect their udders and cause severe pain. Many cows in the US are treated with antibiotics that contribute to unsustainable agricultural practices.
Replace With: milk from coconuts, almonds or rice; or animal milk from a verified small-scale local organic dairy producer that treats their cows ethically
Lobster is a staple to the seafood lover’s diet. They are also intelligent and social creatures can live up to 100 years. Unfortunately, more than 20 million lobsters are killed each year for food.
Bad Ethics: When lobsters are captured, their complex nervous systems are very sensitive to pain. Even when they are alive and being cut open or dropped into boiling water, lobsters suffer through all of that pain.
Replace With: fungi varieties – like the lobster mushroom – that are meaty and buttery with slight seafood flavoring
Unethical Food Brands
These companies are among the worst because they aggressively dominate peoples’ access to food worldwide, our ability to produce it, the integrity of local agriculture, and even what constitutes “food” in the first place.
The world’s largest food and beverages company.
Bad Ethics: It dangerously markets its products to vulnerable and marginalized communities, uses child labor for ingredient harvesting, and uses many environmentally unsustainable practices.
One of the largest food and beverage companies in the entire world.
Bad Ethics: Has one of the most horrific environmental and workers’ rights records that includes aggressive human exploitation and environmental exploitation.
Most known for its association with insecticides, herbicides, and defoliants, DDT, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and even Agent Orange (used in the Vietnam War).
Bad Ethics: Monsanto pushes for unsustainable and dangerous agriculture practices.
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