Sunday, 21 June 2009

Costing the Earth

A letter sent by me to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, but to date it has not been published


Dear Sir/Madam,

I imagine it will come as a shock to most people in New Zealand to learn (see Costing the Earth Helen Harvey 15th June) they are contributing to the mass deforestation and slaughter of animals such as orangutans, tigers and elephants - to name a few.

It seems extraordinary a country so rich in natural countryside resorts to importing palm kernel all the way from Malaysia and Indonesia, to feed cattle in New Zealand. Does anyone in New Zealand want to eat meat tainted with such death and destruction?

Public awareness, worldwide, of the environmental cost of palm kernel/oil is growing rapidly. Consumers are refusing to buy everyday products like biscuits and sweets which come from a non-sustainable, fully approved source. How long will it be before the world knows what goes into beef bought from New Zealand and refuse to buy it? The real cost of palm kernel to New Zealand will then be felt as it is in Indonesia and Malaysia.

No one is asking for a boycott of palm oil or kernel.

What the world needs is fully sustainable palm kernel and oil. It's available now to New Zealand farmers - if they choose to buy it. If they choose not to, anyone who eats beef sourced from New Zealand will have to worry 'Do I want to buy beef which could be tainted with the blood of slaughtered orangutans, tigers etc.?' Who is to know which cow may have eaten palm kernel? Surely, New Zealand, a country with such an enviable reputation for protecting its own environment, does not want to be linked with countries who make a habit of destroying their own, in part, to feed cows.

Sean Whyte

Chief Executive

Nature Alert