The new hot topic is palm oil, partly because the English supermarket Iceland attempted (it got banned) to release an advert which played on the heartstrings of everyone. It clearly articulated the feelings of an orangutan that experienced the destruction of their home as a result of the production of palm oil.
As animals die as a result of the destruction of their homes because of palm oil production, i am often told that palm oil isn’t vegan. However, no matter how strange it may sound, I think it is.
A chicken must suffer and die for me to eat chicken.
An orangutan does not have to suffer and die for me to eat palm oil.
This may seem like a cop out and you may say, well if there is a chance of the orangutan dying during the process of clearing trees then surely palm oil isn’t vegan.
Well funnily enough, that’s the case for pretty much every single ingredient that is farmed. Some bees are being farmed and transported thousands of miles in small crates to pollenate avocados, some monkeys are being chained up and trained to climb trees to retrieve coconuts, so does this mean vegans can no longer eat avocados, coconuts and everything else that could *possibly* cause suffering to animals?
If only items were labelled *an animal suffered in the production of this item* or *an animal did not suffer in the production of this item*.
In light of the information above, I’ve started (to try!) growing my own veg (beginner level: tomatoes and spring onions). Growing your own vegetables is possibly one of the best things you can do for the environment and to stop mass farming, BUT even the soil I use has probably been taken away from some poor little worm and possibly caused them harm.
There is suffering everywhere, but veganism is about minimising that suffering to the best of our abilities.
You see, palm oil does have it’s positives (kind of). Oil palm trees are 6-10 times more efficient at producing oil than oil crops such as soybean, sunflower and olive. So we would need more land, which would require more deforestation and therefore displace more wildlife if we were to swap palm oil with something else.
As Mega Friend Dee would say ‘You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t’. So let’s find a better solution…
Go sustainable or go home.
Sustainable palm oil is the future. Not only will sustainable palm oil ensure that deforestation stops, but it will also ensure better working conditions and of course uphold measures to make sure that animals are not harmed. You can learn more about sustainable palm oil here.
If you’d like to support sustainable palm oil then here is a list (I found) of things you can do to help:
- Research which retailers and manufacturers are committed to removing deforestation from their products and support those companies in their journey to responsible palm oil. Check out this list of companies that support sustainable palm oil.
- Join social media campaigns to drive the industry in the right direction (here is a pretty good petition I found online) and pressure governments to support the production of responsible palm oil.
- Support conservation organisations working to break the link between palm oil and deforestation like RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).
Lastly, ask yourself why palm oil bothers you. Is it because of the destruction of our beautiful planet, the suffering of the animals, workers and people affected by this business? If so, go vegan.
Animal agriculture along with commercial farming and palm oil production are the lead drivers in deforestation around the world. Why support one cause and not another?
So if you’re really serious about saving those orangutans, get in touch and I’ll help you go vegan 💚