Thai shrimp industry runs on brutal slavery and murder


Well, since Apple’s not in the shrimp business, don’t expect too many people getting riled up about this.


Yeah, I’m thinking about signing up for that one-way ticket to Mars. Fuck this planet full of sadistic primitive apes.


CP doesn’t import Thai prawns: they are the ones who farm them and export them. The slavery described in the Graudian is involved not in the farming itself but in the fishing boats that catch the fishmeal that farmers like CP feed to the prawns.

It’s kind of easy to criticize CP for not following things all the way up the supply chain, but at the same time you have companies like Morrisons who seem to be saying they shouldn’t be blamed because they expect their suppliers to adhere to their codes of conduct: CP and their Thai suppliers have a duty to investigate and police their supply chain all the way to the end, but Morrisons does not, because Morrisons believes they should be able to take it on faith that their supply chains are completely clean!

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Not that it’s as horrifying as brutal slavery and murder; but that is just icing on the cake: Doing ‘aquaculture’ and using wild-caught fish as an input is essentially low-efficiency “protein laundering” that, while it can convert low-value fish into ones that sell better, accelerates the depletion of marine ecosystems by increasing the amount of fish you have to take to deliver the same amount of food. (but at least you can sell it as Wholesome Aquaculture, savior of our fish stocks and future of seafood!)

@fuzzyfungus: I think tats up for debate. Harvesting low value feed and using it to supply aquaculture farms makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, what’s the alternative - farm the entire food chain? Or we should all just learn to eat plankton? That’s just not feasible. I believe any species can be harvested wild in a sustainable manner, it’s just a matter of regulation and enforcement.

@bwv812: I don’t see excusing a company for not managing it’s supply chain just because another company does a worse job. If CP is getting it’s feed from suppliers who use slave labor, they are as bad a corporate actor as tenslavers themselves.

The problem with it is that the conversion efficiency of a meat -> meat-eater -> meat step is painfully inefficient.

The alternatives would be, if one won’t eat plankton personally, farming something that does.

As for low value feed, there are a couple of issues at play: one is that a major reason why fishermen are bothering with low-value catch is that all the high value stocks have already been pushed into sufficient scarcity that they can’t support a fishery anymore. The other one is that many low-value fish can be slurrified into Surimi just fine, which is a rather more efficient use of the protein than feeding it to a shrimp and then eating the shrimp. Not as classy, admittedly; but better than plankton and more efficient than authenticity.

RE: regulation and enforcement, I don’t disagree with you there, I’m just inclined to take the position that (thanks in part to the ‘international’ status of large parts of the ocean, and in part to good old corruption, weak enforcement, and the like) expecting ‘regulation and enforcement’ to actually happen in time is not a safe bet. It’s a good goal, and should be pursued; but the awfulness of the current state of affairs can scarcely be exaggerated.

I’m not saying CP should get a free pass so much as I’m saying that Morrisons shouldn’t get one, either. And yet we are more likely to blame CP than we are to blame Morrisons, who are hiding behind their we’re-not-going-to-check,-but-promise-us-everything-is-on-the-up-and-up supplier agreements. So Morrisons blames CP for not checking the supply chain, even though Morrisons itself has made no effort to check it. Indeed, if these retailers operate anything like Wal-Mart, they are the ones actually pressuring their supply chain to engage in these sorts of acts, as it may be the only way to operate profitably on the razor-thin margins that are forced on them by big retail.

Sure, but the same can be said of all seafood (and a similar argument applies to all animal-based protein). Apex predators like tuna, sharks, swordfish, etc. are naturally going to be the most inefficient sources of protein (or is their protein laundering OK because we didn’t catch their meals for them?), while base-level omnivores like shrimp are probably pretty efficient in comparison to most of the seafood we consume. Filter-feeding shellfish are probably better, though.

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I didn’t mention them because I’m guessing that nobody is throwing perfectly saleable tuna to the shrimp; but no, they don’t get a pass just because they hunt for themselves, and eating apex predators is one of the ways that we are (surprisingly quickly) burning through one fish stock after another.

All big industry use of slavery system.

This is why I buy my shrimp from an old Asian woman in Kemah who barks her orders equally well in Mandarin and Spanish. I really don’t see a big difference in taste between fresh caught Gulf shrimp or imported frozen shrimp anyways.


This strikes me as a somewhat alarmist way to put things. Again, there are plenty of species that can (and should) be eaten in a sustainable manner. Salmon, for instance, swim in the ocean for a few years, feeding efficiently on the nutrients of the sea, packing it all on as poundage and bringing it back to our shores in a tidy (somewhat slimy) package. Call that “protein laundering” if you want, but I call it delicious.

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Now I can’t eat shrimp either FML.

Better stop using smartphones and other technology that incorporates rare earths like coltan, too, as its production is highly linked to slavery and warfare.

I’m sick of slavery and warfare.

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