Faced with DiGiorno ethics scandal, put your money where your mouth is

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Photo from Mercy for Animals

Somewhere, nestled within the confines of the Nestlé corporation’s PR department, a faceless cog is tweeting up a storm.

On Tuesday, DiGiorno Pizza, a subordinate pizza brand of Nestlé S.A., cut all ties with one of it’s dairy suppliers after a certain video was posted on the Internet. The video in question, published by the activist group Mercy for Animals, uncovered a miasma of abuse towards some of the 5,000 cows held in captivity at the Wiese Brothers Farm in Greenleaf, Wisconsin. Farmhands are seen kicking the piteous animals – far too heavy, ill, or malnourished to move – mercilessly. The video (it’s graphic, obviously) can be viewed below:

But I digress, @DiGiornoPizza is going H.A.M. on the Twittersphere. They’ve been systematically dishing out hollow apologies to those who called them out on their mistake since yesterday, with every tweet linking to the same NBC News article. They even responded to my preachy ass:

While the official Twitter has stated that “[DiGiorno Pizza is] equally disgusted by the abuse in the video,” it would not be out of line for one to stay skeptical. Just last June, Daily Mail posted an expose on Nestlé’s involvement in animal testing (you can delve deeper into the madness here). Nestlé’s disregard for the whole “ethics” thing isn’t a recent romp, either. In 1977, a boycott against the Nestlé corporation was started by organizations like the International Baby Food Action Network and Save the Children due to the scandal surrounding Nestle’s production and distribution of tainted baby formula.

Just read it. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here. Learn about how the Swiss food giant got impoverished mothers in third-world countries addicted to baby formula. Go ahead.

While I hate to be a sensationalist, topics such as these have to be brought to light, especially when the parent company refuses to have an active investment in where foodstuffs are being processed. DiGiorno has issued an apology, but who’s to say that the animal abuse won’t continue?

As college students who don’t have many options for food choices, it’s important to be aware of what’s good and what’s putting more money into companies like Nestlé’s pockets. Baby Milk Action has actually compiled a list of products that are being manufactured thanks to Nestlé’s involvement in animal testing, animal abuse, and, ahem, baby poisoning. Arm yourselves with knowledge and take note of the list here (they even linked a neat little mobile site for your home screen).

Now, if you’re like me, and the first time you saw that, you said something along the lines of “I can’t eat Kit Kats? Dude . . .” don’t fret. The majority of the items on that list are easily replaceable with cosmetics and food products that aren’t owned by corporations as morally daft as Nestle. If you’re looking for makeup that a hamster hasn’t tried first, check out Sephora’s line of vegan products.

If you’re in need of better candy that’s still delicious and bad for you, I highly recommend anything Mars, Incorporated makes. They were awarded the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence in 2010, and they also set up a program called MyCocoaPaper, which aims to provide jobs for women and families in Indonesia. However, they did recently oppose a California initiative to label genetically modify foods.

But no rose is without its thorns.

Nestlé’s future in the ethical treatment of animal – and humans – is questionable, at best. However, as fully functioning digital citizens, we have the power to not patronize products with such a grody history.

The next time you go to Jeff Market for some quick self-pity snacks, as I do on a regular basis, make sure that you know what you’re ingesting; it could save a cow or two.

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