The company that has become the drink icon of the American Dream is not all it appears to be. Soon, their adorable polar bear cans will adorn the shelves of grocery stores and corner stores everywhere, pretending to be doing a good deed – the one of participating in the protection of an endangered species. However, Coca-Cola has a history of not caring for the places where they manufacture and sell their highly unhealthy drinks. Sounds harsh? Read on.
To begin with, this soft drink company has an official “Animal Welfare Policy” as follows:
"The Coca-Cola Company does not endorse or condone any practice of cruelty to animals, and the Company does not sponsor or promote events where there is a risk of physical harm to animals. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Company does not sponsor rodeos or bullfighting events.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. This company sponsors bullfighting and the animal abuse has been documented. But, the soft drink company tries to cover its behind by putting the blame on … none other than their bottlers. That’s right: they blame those that pour their product in plastic bottles, as though they had no control over who does this task, nor the type of sponsorship they should encourage. Bull (pun intended) indeed! They even have a policy that claims that their bottlers do not advertise this way:
“Coca-Cola cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. That is why the Company and our U.S. bottling partners will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals' health and safety.”
As though this wasn’t enough, they hire companies to investigate PETA and Occupy Wall Street groups that typically manifest against mega-corps like themselves, to ensure they wouldn’t try to speak out against them during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. STRATFOR http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/02/28/wikileaks-docs-vancouver-olympics.html was hired to verify if Coca-Cola would be lobbied because of the Bhopal disaster and its rodeo sponsorships. Private FBI documents were pulled out to aid the investigation. This same company has also been keeping an eye on Venezuela’s President’s health (Hugo Chavez is walking in Castro’s footsteps and arming himself in case of an American invasion) who, just like the late NDP leader Jack Layton, was suddenly hit with an incurable case of cancer...
Furthermore, Coca-Cola sponsored W. Bush’s campaigns for the presidential elections, the candidate for both these campaigns that didn’t care for human, animal and environmental rights. In Colombia, where a bloody regime and war has been going on for decades, 8 Sinaltrainal union leaders of the Coca-Cola plants were murdered within the grounds of the plants, and many others have been tortured, exiled or imprisoned – and although the company denies it, they stand accused of complicity in the matter.
As for India, many incidents have occurred, including the infamous Bhopal disaster, for which the company, to this day, refuses to take responsibility. They have also evaded payment for land revenue in Mehdigani and stand accused of high levels of environmental damage.
For those who wish to see this company take responsibility for their actions, there are several ways of ensuring they start accepting respect for social, animal and environmental justice. First, boycotting the company until they change their practices, all the while letting them know that you refuse to purchase their products until they get their act together, is one way to deal with the matter. Otherwise, if you also want to protect your health, cutting soft drinks and any other Coca-Cola product from your diet is a much more effective way to make your voice heard.
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)