If you are worried about the abuse and exploitation of non-human animals, you can become a vegetarian or a vegan. But if you worry about the abuse and exploitation of humans, there is no morally upright consumer choice you can make, short of growing 100% of your food yourself.
This is the main message of journalist Eric Schlosser in this 4min video produced by BigThink. In it, he summarizes the extent of the exploitation of poor people, mostly immigrants, in the restaurant industry, the meatpacking industry, and the production of fresh fruits and vegetables in the U.S.
Especially for the people who pick our produce, he insists, the working conditions “are more reminiscent of the mid-nineteenth century than they are with the twenty-first century.” It is “literally slavery.”
Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.