CRL has seven “Ethics of Eating” cards that speak to a host of food and farm issues. These cards, shown below, are handy for both personal and parish use. The seven cards can be purchased as a set or individually. (English & Spanish versions available).
Eaters’ Bill of Rights (English Spanish)
As consumers, we have rights that our food system and policy makers must respect.
The right to food means the right to safe, nutritious food. We also have the right to know how our food is produced: Are farmers paid a just wage? Do farm workers have safe working conditions?
Is the environment harmed? Is the food produced locally or transported for thousands of miles? Is the food system controlled by a few agribusiness cartels?
A “bill of rights” for consumers is essential for ethical eating.
This card expresses a religious ethic for life on the land. We believe that farming is a noble vocation that gives great pride to family farmers. But agriculture needs a just marketing system that works for all people. Therefore, each of us has a responsibility to promote justice in our communities and our nation. We do this for the sake of our neighbors, future generations and all of God’s glorious creation. We believe working together in solidarity we can create of sustainable, safe and reliable food system.
Web of Life is One (English Spanish)
All of Creation is sacred and we are called to serve as faithful stewards. Creation has an integrity and inherent value beyond its usefulness to human beings. Human beings are to be responsible stewards of creation: In this activity we work in harmony with God as co-creators. The web of life is one. The way we treat animals carries moral significance. We cannot casually inflict pain on them; their modes of living deserve study and appreciation. Animal welfare should be a moral concern.
Farmers and ranchers are not to be treated as serfs under agribusiness corporations. Human beings are created in the image of God. Any diminishment of that dignity is contrary to moral law. The economy is for the human person; not the human person for the economy. Any reduction of the human self to a cog in a machine violates that dignity. We are called to be advocates for the dignity of the human person; we can do so by participating in campaigns of justice and supporting sound legislative policies.
Dignity of the Human Person: Farm & Food Workers (English Spanish)
Farm workers and migrant laborers must be treated with dignity. Whether employed in meat processing, vegetable and fruit fields, dairy farms, poultry houses, or hog confinement operations, many immigrant laborers are ill-housed, poorly paid, threatened and vulnerable. In the view of the Church, all agricultural workers are entitled to safe working conditions, adequate housing, and benefits for themselves and their families. This is paramount; it deserves the support and affirmation of the community and the nation.
Water in the Web of Life (English Spanish)
Clean, safe, fresh water is integral to a healthy web of life. There is a natural symbolism to water: water is seen as the origin of all things. We are stewards not only of the land, but also of the waters. In exercising this care, we learn the importance of our solidarity and communion with nature. The waters are a community source, not simply an individual concern. The health and cleanliness of our waters makes us realize that others need what we need. Water connects us all into one web of life.
The right to food means a diet that will sustain a healthy life. Our food system is subsidizing large food producers, processors and retailers even as the quality of our food deteriorates. In the industrial system, food is irradiated, genetically engineered, doctored by taste “experts” and reduced in nutritional quality. The right to a truly human life means people need the amount and quality of food required for normal physical and human activity and development, not just for survival. Eating is a moral act: our food should be good to eat!