Whew! There has been a certain picture circulating around Facebook over the last couple of days that has stirred strong emotions and comments from soapmakers. I personally don’t mind seeing it but I do understand that some people don’t want to see it (so I won’t post it). It is a picture of a bloody orangutan with patches of skin missing possibly due to being set on fire. Its his human-like pose really affected me. He was laying curled up with his hands up to his face in pain and despair. And although we certainly don’t know for sure the circumstances that brought about the state of this particular orangutan, it accurately represents one of the practices of the treatment of orangutans from some palm oil producers. And that is the killing, beating, burning alive, clubbing, dragging and general torture of these creatures.
And these aren’t the only creatures affected. Add to that humans (yes! tribes of indigenous people that have been murdered and displaced), rhinos, cats, birds, insects and so many other creatures are under threat.
Do your own research. Google.
This picture was posted and some of the most stupid comments and justifications for using palm oil followed.
Stupid Justification #1 – “Palm oil is in everything. We can’t avoid it…so why try?”
We can avoid it…and its not really difficult. This is absolutely one of the most insanely lazy reasons to keep using palm oil. Palm oil is mostly found in processed foods especially baked stuff like cookies, breads, crackers…etc. But its simply not in EVERY processed food. Read labels.
One of the easiest way to avoid it (and also do yourself and your family a huge favor) is to cut back on the processed foods. Focus on feeding your family whole foods (foods that are minimally processed and don’t contain added “stuff” like sugar, salt, fats…etc.). Eat fresh fruits and veggies. Bake your own breads, pizza crust, cookies and cakes.
Avoiding palm oil in products and food is not impossible or even that difficult. Read labels. I can almost promise (speaking from experience) that if you pick up a box of crackers, a loaf of bread or a chocolate bar at the store and see that it has palm oil in it…there will be something else right by it on that shelf that doesn’t. It might mean you give up that certain favorite food you’ve been eating for years (ummm Mr. Goodbars) but maybe you’ll discover something new!
There are tons of palm oil free lists of products and resources.
IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO AVOID.
Stupid Justification #2 – “We as handmade soapmakers only make up about 1% of palm oil users.”
This infuriates me.
Let’s do a little googling and see what figures we can find and determine how much our 1% has contributed to certain issues.
Statistics vary by source (so again…google) but I’ve found sources that claim 16 million acres of rain forests have been destroyed and cleared for palm oil plantations. So our little 1% accounts for 160,000 acres of destroyed rainforest which also includes animal displacement and death (fires are used to clear forests), indigenous people displacement and loss of sacred lands, traditions, medicine sources, water and food sources.
50,000 orangutans have died due to palm oil plantations. So…our little 1% has only murdered 500 orangutans.
Googling this figure gives a vast variety of results. So let’s use another website that says 3000 orangutans are killed each year. So…our little 1% only murders about 30 orangutans each year. I’m not citing sources because I want you to do the searches for yourself and see what you come up with. 1 orangutan, 5? 20? The answer is certainly not zero no matter what source you use. It is a FACT that orangutans are murdered, tortured and displaced because of palm oil plantations.
I don’t care what little percentage we have as soapmakers. We are part of the problem.
Orangutans being murdered brings up another idiotic justification for using palm oil.
Justification #3 – “We kill cows, pigs, chickens and other animals for food. Who cares if orangutans get killed for palm oil. What’s the difference?”
THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT WE RAISE THESE DOMESTICATED ANIMALS FOR FOOD.
Don’t like that answer? GOOD! Then be PALM OIL FREE and VEGAN. (Which by they way, it surprises me how many vegans do not know about the palm oil controversy.)
Killing of orangutans for palm oil is NOT the same as killing animals for food. We don’t eat the orangutans. We don’t breed them for food. They will disappear as a species. They will be gone.
Animal welfare as it pertains to our food supply and conservation of an entire species are two very different separate things. The justification for killing orangutans can not be made by comparing killing orangutans to killing animals raised for food. We will not run out of chickens, cows and pigs. And when we kill them…we eat them.
There were more stupid comments that simply infuriated me, but I am stopping here as these are probably the top three. And its time to go to lunch.
Comments unrelated to soapmaking will be deleted. 🙂