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PROTESTORS AGAINST DEFORESTATION SHOULD PUSH FOR CUTTING POVERTY, NOT PALM OIL

By Tim Wilson

“Protestors greeting Adelaide Zoo visitors with attacks on palm oil should be focusing on cutting poverty in the developing world to stop deforestation, not individual crops”, Director of the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, Tim Wilson, said today.

Mr Wilson's comments follow the recent release of "Exposed: The Inaccurate and Inappropriate Campaign by Zoos Victoria", a report released by the Sustainable Development Project at the Institute of Public Affairs looking at the claims of zoos against palm oil and the actual evidence supporting these claims.

“Following our research, attacks by zoos against palm oil aren't based in evidence. Out of the twelve anti-palm oil 'facts' claimed by Zoos only two have been found to be accurate, eight are false and two cannot be substantiated”

“Understandably many Australians and celebrities have well intentionally supported Zoo-driven campaigns like Don't Palm Us Off based on the factually inaccurate information provided by Zoos”.

“For example, claims by Zoos that 300 football fields are deforested every hour in South East Asia for palm oil production are just rubbish. Those claims are a misrepresentation of a 2005 UN report on illegal logging in Indonesia”.

“Claims of illegal logging caused by palm oil are also absurd. These claims are based on misrepresentations of United Nations data and in its recent reports UN agencies have dramatically downgraded concerns about illegal logging”.

“Activists fronting the Adelaide Zoo claim palm oil production costs the lives of fifty orang-utans each week. But it is just a claim. Perth Zoo claims it is one hundred and sixteen”.

In response to claims about the loss of orang-utan populations the Malaysian Prime Minister hit back at activists yesterday claiming it “is not true”.

“An earlier IPA report, 'Palming Off Livelihoods', highlighted that the real cause of deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia is poverty that causes forest conversion to provide sustainable income for agriculture industries”.

“Nearly half of all palm oil growers are poor, individual farmers who use the crop for a sustainable livelihood”.

“Palm oil is actually a very high yield crop that requires less land to produce more output in comparison to other in-demand oils. Stopping the production of palm oil would likely lead to the use of other oil crops that will require more land to produce less”.

“The only way to sustainably cut deforestation in the developing world is to cut poverty”, Mr Wilson said.

Exposed: The Inaccurate and Inappropriate Campaign by Zoos Victoria and Palming Off Livelihoods are available at www.ipa.org.au.