I am a new member and noticed that for such an interesting question "Shopping with ethics" did not get the exposure I thought it might so I hope you don't mind me spending my 2 cents worth so to speak.
I agree with you all about buying local with less packaging (reduce/reuse/recycle/rethink! Also borrow>use>return)- it reduces the environmental cost and supports the local economy.
Specifically for food, I grow non genetically modified, chemical free vegetables/fruits/herbs, for self consumption, sell them at the local market or swap them with the neighbours which all provide for community sustainability.
Concerning animal products, for many animal abolitionists the main argument is against specieism, the exploitation of animals for our own benefit. For welfarists, the conditions they are kept in and how they are treated. Recently a pork supplier to Woolworths was convicted of animal cruelty and due to public pressure, ties to this major supplier were severed.
On the subject of milk, I hadn't realised until fairly recently that by consuming milk, the veal industry is indirectly supported by the "production" of calves, usually males. There's a lot more information out there about the life of a dairy cow and you could argue till the cows came home about what constitutes a humane death for an animal at the abattoir and if it is in anyway justifiable.
Major changes seem to be happening across the country when it comes to the ethical treatment of animals - councils are banning battery hen farming, Tasmania are phasing out sow stalls in piggeries and communities are introducing meatless Mondays.
Also, no less important, is the ethics of how you treat yourself and your family- will you buy over processed junk food of no nutritional value, laced with chemicals and genetically modified for half the price? Or will you opt for healthy, fresh, chemical free produce for double the price and double the nutrients continuing to help feed mind and body. Hopefully it is the latter, for these are important choices, we should keep empowering ourselves and keep asking those questions. But remember, ' A questioning man is halfway to being wise.'- Irish Proverb
I would encourage everybody to grow your food, look for empty community land pockets that could be used and see how easy it really is, taste the difference and feel the effects. Cuba was able to achieve a huge degree of economic independence by promoting urban agriculture. Even if it is just a few potted herbs on the window sill your body will thank you for it.
I try to consume no animal, chemical or processed products, and to quote Ghandi* "Live simply so that others may simply live".
*Dale Jamieson's citation in his book 'Ethics and Environment' uses the phrase "often attributed to Ghandi", to suggest that there is no hard evidence.
How about everyone else?