Target: United States Food and Drug Administration
Goal: End the wave of injustice being afflicted upon environments and communities by the exotic shrimp industry
Industrial shrimp farms have existed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America for decades now, supplying the highly profitable global shrimp industry through export markets. However, for as long as they’ve been around, these farms have been a major source of ecological destruction. Mangrove forests have been chopped down at large, and shrimp cultivation ponds poison local water supplies with a variety of waste and pesticides.
Even worse, in order to maintain these farms despite the cause they harm, local communities are often subject to violence at the hands of the industry. Widespread deforestation is serious enough an issue when it leaves communities at higher risk of flooding and sickness through pollution, but when intimidation, rape, and murder occurs it becomes clear that immediate action needs to be taken.
The exotic shrimp industry is one which has been called both ethical and sustainable, but the facts are at serious odds with these claims. In past decades, record amounts of horrifying violence have been incurred upon communities that have attempted to protest against the exploitation of their land.
Recently in Thailand, investigations have uncovered the extent to which this trend continues to this day for the 250,000 Burmese migrants working in the industry. Those working on the fishing ships are made to endure extended trips during which they are given inadequate living space and frequently experience malnutrition. They are often beaten by unsatisfied ship authorities, and in some cases are even executed in front of other crew members.
These practices are, without question, unacceptable. The conditions maintained by the global shrimp industry are an affront to the human rights of everyone involved and must end now. Exotic shrimp continue to be an extremely popular product the world over, and are consumed in restaurants and sold at markets indiscriminately. This cannot continue to be the case; it is of extreme importance for the welfare of both the environment and those exploited that exotic shrimp produced from these industries become banned and boycotted in mainstream markets.
Dear U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
Our country’s continued endorsement of the exotic shrimp industry is one which needs to undergo serious change. Industrial shrimp farms the world over have been a longstanding source of exploitation of both precious environments and invaluable human lives. Despite the knowledge of extreme damage incurred upon communities, whether or not they speak against the use of their land and labor for shrimp farming and fishing, the issue has gone largely ignored. Recent findings in Thailand should be evidence enough to begin taking steps towards justice for an otherwise corrupt industry.
If extremely crude working conditions weren’t enough to cause serious concern among regulators and consumers, the fact that Burmese workers are frequently beaten and even murdered needs to be taken into account. It is extremely necessary that the sale of exotic shrimp produced by these corrupt sections of the industry be banned immediately.
At the very least, efforts need to be made to educated consumers as to the source of their products and discouraged from giving their money to exploitative groups. Please do not remain silent and complicit. Something needs to be done about this violation of human rights and environmental welfare.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Farruska via Flickr