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Is Your Seafood Habit Supporting Slavery?

NPR reports that after a year-long investigation, the Associated Press has found that some of the seafood sold at American grocery stores may have been caught by Burmese slaves:

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

A lead reporter for the investigation told NPR that when the men realized one of the AP reporters spoke their language, “they began calling out, asking for help, and explaining that they were trapped and that they were being beaten and that they were enslaved.”

The reporters found men in cages, many of whom stated they had been lured by the promise of a job. The investigation also traced the seafood to determine which companies were shipping to the United States and under which labels.

The result? The labels included Meow Mix, Iams, Fancy Feast, and other cat food labels, and the U.S. distributors receiving the seafood also sell to Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, Albertson’s, and others.

Of course, none of this should come as any surprise.

Just last year, NBC News reported similar findings, including men who came to Thailand from bordering countries in search of work tricked into lives of slavery on fishing boats where captains subjected them to horrific brutality.

But humans aren’t the only ones suffering for seafood. Sea animals are routinely abused, neglected, and needlessly killed by this cruel industry. And not just in Thailand, but also in the U.S. 

Have a look:

Think slavery and animal cruelty are unethical? Then it’s time to stop eating fish. Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.

Photo: Dita Alangkara/AP