Recently, Seventh Generation‘s blog, The Inspired Protagonist, invited me to comment on a message from Heifer International’s publicist they posted in response to my blog entry taking Seventh Generation to task for promoting the commodification of nonhuman beings as a holiday giving idea.
However, what was termed a “thoughtful rebuke” was more or less treated as something to be countered, not something to think about. I wasn’t even invited to post as a guest, but was relegated to the comments, which many visitors to the blog may never see. In fact, ever since I wrote my original post, The Inspired Protagonist seems to have been finding ways to give Heifer International a positive spin at their blog via guest posts.
It appears that Seventh Generation has some sort of arrangement with Heifer International, such that they are going out of their way to greenwash the company and justify their support of it. Obviously they wouldn’t want to officially sanction a criticism of HI’s exploitation of animals by offering me a guest post, nor would they allow anything other than the rosiest picture of HI to be portrayed, as their newest post demonstrates.
I do not want to sanction the exploitation of animals, so therefore I suppose I must no longer purchase Seventh Generation’s products, and I let them know as much in my comment following the most recent apologia for Heifer International:
While I welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Heifer International publicist’s comments at this blog, it is disappointingly clear that Seventh Generation is committed to their ongoing partnership with Heifer International (note the link under “Inspiring Actions” in the sidebar), and that any official Inspired Protagonist posts will continue to promote and support that organization rather than carefully examining how a socially and environmentally responsible corporation can help people and the environment without using animals as a means to an end.
It is also clear that I will need to stop buying Seventh Generation products until such time as I can be reassured that the company is no longer actively supporting and promoting the slave-like treatment of animals as commodities instead of the sentient beings that they are.
I hesitated before using the word slave, since I doubt anyone will support the notion that the animals are being whipped and beaten, and I have no firsthand evidence of this, but the term slave-like is meant to imply the impunity with which people bought and sold other beings. In that case it was fellow humans, in this case it is nonhuman beings that have as much of a right to freedom as any human.
As one can easily infer from my original post, I realize that many cultures around the world live in climates where animals can graze on available land that does not provide ready food for humans, while providing milk and eventually flesh for people to eat. It may well be impractical for people in those areas, particularly nomadic cultures, to try to become self-sustaining on an entirely plant-based diet, at least at first. But should we really be supporting the continued use and further degradation of lands inhospitable to humans, or should we be supporting efforts to transform those lands into fertile areas capable of bearing fruit?
Fortunately there are other companies out there providing environmentally-friendly household products that don’t appear to be actively promoting the commodification of animals, and I encourage you to purchase from them.