Destructive Impact of Consumer Products on Humans, Animals, and the Earth –

The products that we are encouraged to buy every day have a hidden cost–exploitation of humans, animals, and the Earth. Freegans recognize that capitalist mass production is a system based on manipulating consumers into feeling compelled to work to make money to buy products, even goods that are destructive to the consumer and our world. Humans are the only animals who consume resources in great excess of our immediate needs. Industrial mass production allows the production, sale, and marketing of goods to take place on a scale that is jeopardizing the future of the planet.

Capitalism views all things in relation to their capacity to create or limit profits, and thus animals (human and nonhuman) and the Earth are simply viewed as raw materials, to be exploited in whatever way will produce the most profits. While we occasionally hear of a few high-profile abuses that have been targeted by activist campaigners, what we don’t realize is that exploitation is infused in the production of the goods that we buy at every level, to the point where it is completely inextricable.

Carefully considering the impacts of every stage of production, on living beings and the planet at every stage of production would curtail the enormous profits necessary to keep an industrial mass production system working. Moreover, the drive under capitalism for constant economic growth is also a drive for every increasing consumption and massive expenditures to create in us the desire to consume goods that wouldn’t otherwise want or need.

While boycotts and ethical consumerism campaigns are legitimate attempts to create market pressure to reform specific practices, while rewarding producers with favorable practices, they fail to address the problems inherent in the market system. Recently, Abercrombie and Fitch took a progressive stand against the cruel treatment of sheep in the Australian wool trade—but the company’s products are still made in sweatshops. Bank of America agreed to reform its environmental practices to avoid a PR black eye from Rainforest Action Network and other groups – while at almost exactly the same time announcing 12,500 layoffs as part of its merger with Fleet. Ben and Jerry’s “P.C.” image covers high detected dioxin levels in its products, the abuse of the cows that produce the milk in the company’s product, and most significantly, the fact that Ben and Jerry’s is a subsidiary of mega-corporate animal tester and polluter Unilever. Single issue campaigns at best lead to single issue reforms and at worst to corporate spin backed by no real substance.

To live in harmony with other beings and our planet, we need to go beyond “responsible shopping.” We must simplify our lives, DECREASE personal and societal consumption, and thus shrink our personal and societal economic needs. In so doing, we limit the time that we must devote to waged labor, and regain control of our time, the most precious commodity in our lives. As freegans we curtail our need to finance exploitation from our product purchase using funds from jobs where we either are exploited or exploit others.

Below are just a few examples of the hidden impacts of the products we consume and the companies we support with our dollars, harsh realities never discussed in the advertising campaigns used to market these products to us. While much of the information below comes from groups advocating the naïve “ethical shopping” approach, the information they have collected, when taken together, makes a powerful case for why we should try to divorce ourselves from shopping altogether. In those cases when we find purchasing unavoidable, this information is helpful in at least selecting lesser evils.


Responsible Shopper

Boycott City Boycotts List– Where you can post your own boycott ideas and read others. This is an open bulletin board, so people of all political persuasions post. We DO NOT endorse every boycott you will see here!!!!

Co-Op America’s

Boycott War!

Ethical Consumer Boycott List

Third World Traveler Boycott List

What’s Wrong With Multinationals?

Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade

Ethical Consumer

McDonald’s: Enemy of Free Speech, Healthy Eating, Animals, the Environment, and Workers

Luxuries We Can’t Afford

Diamonds: Financing Conflict in Africa

Gold: Indigenous Genocide and Ecological Destruction

Fur: Fashion Without Compassion


Victoria’s Secret Killing Forests for Catalogs

Magazine Industry Destroying Forests

Products to Avoid to Spare Rainforests


Ford Motor Company and Global Warming

Soy and Rainforest Destruction

Labor Rights

US Retailers: Responsible for the Global Sweatshop Crisis

Major Sweatshop Abusers

Behind the Label: Sweatshop Information


Major League Baseball


National Basketball Association

Sean John

Sweatshop-Made Toys

Coca-Cola: Killing Unionists in Colombia

Additional Info on Killer Coke

Turks Boycott British Petroleum, Shell, and Exxon Mobil over Labor Abuse

Chocolate and Child Labor

Other Human Rights Issues

Nestle Kills Babies

Free Tibet: BoycottGoods Made in China

Diamonds: Fueling Conflict in Africa

Crazy Horse Malt Liquor/Arizona Iced Tea Demeans Native Americas

Animal Rights

Products Tested and Products Not Tested on Animals

Disease Charities That Test on Animals and Disease Charities That Don’t Test on Animals

Animal Ingredients in Consumer Products

Animal-based Foods

Leather: The Skins of Tortured Animals

Wool: The Other Fur Industry

Fur: Fashion Without Compassion

Zoos: Wildlife Prisons

Circuses and Animal Abuse

Proctor and Gamble: Animal Testers

Iams Animal Testing

Tobacco and Animal Testing

Women’s Issues

Marketing and Manipulation of Women’s Body Images

Petroleum Products

Oil producing mega-corporations are involved in so many destructive practices towards humans, animals, and the Earth that they merit their own section!


Shell (McSpotlight)

Shell (MOSOP)

U.N. Report on Nigerian Human Rights Calls for Investigation of Shell

Chevron Texaco

Chevron Toxico

Exxon Mobil

Stop Exxon Mobil

Stop Esso

Don’t Buy Exxon

Exxon Mobil and Queer Discrimination

Brtish Petroleum

BP: A Legacy of Apartheid, Pollution and Exploitation

February 5, 2010 - Posted by | anti-kapitalizm, tuketim karsitligi

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