Recently, Dr Mehmet Oz, in his TV show recommended red palm oil as a miracle fat that’d help stop the signs of aging inside and out. Dr Oz should be commended for having the courage to tell it like it is! There is little doubt that palm oil has many health benefits and tons of scientific studies have proven this over the years.
Yet the Rainforest Action Network, noting that Dr Oz’s recommendations have triggered a buying frenzy, have teamed up with Orangutan Outreach to run an email campaign alleging that Dr Oz’s recommendations will lead to extensive rainforest destruction and the demise of the orangutan.
The Rainforest Action Network and the Orangutan Outreach sound like a Greek chorus singing and dancing to their usual one note samba of deluded claims that palm oil destroys forests and threatens the existence of wildlife. Why RAN is the self-same organization who made the ludicrous claim in their website that the orangutan would be extinct by 2011. The trouble was that 2011 came along and the orangutan population in the wild, instead of going extinct, grew when new tribes of more than 2000 wild apes were found in the East Kalimantan province of Indonesia, as reported by National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090413-new-orangutans.html). With roughly 50,000 orangutans thought to remain in the wild, the new find could add 5 percent to the world’s known orangutan numbers, said Erik Meijaard, senior ecologist for Nature Conservancy in Indonesia. RAN had to sheepishly remove their wild claim from their website!
The issue of deforestation too flies in the face of facts for Malaysia, despite planting palm oil for more than a hundred years (and erstwhile the world's largest producer of palm oil to boot) has still managed to retain 59.5 percent forest cover, certainly far better than New Zealand's 31.87 percent or the UK’s 11.7%! (CIA World FactBook 2011) Further, the FAO has found that the rate of forest change in Malaysia declined from 0.66% in the years 2000-2005 to 0.42% in the years 2005-2010 (FAO Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010), certainly not the apocalyptic picture of massive deforestation that these apologists attempt to paint.
So who is the driving force behind this? Well according to an expose compiled by Libertiamo, an Italian civil libertarian group, one of the main driving forces behind these anti-palm oil campaigns is the European Commission. The expose entitled - “Taxpayer Funding, NGO Collusion and Manufactured Crises,” highlights the fact that since as far back as 2005 the European Commission has been throwing money at various green groups seemingly to help drive their campaigns.
The Libertaimo expose noted that in the past three years alone the EC has handed out nearly €1 million to Rainforest Action Network, €4 million to Friends of the Earth, and €5 million to the WWF. The reason for this funding, which has been increasing each year since 2005, appears to be payment for these so called green groups to erect trade barriers to palm oil in the European markets, which struggle to compete against the super high yield of palm oil.
Why else would the EC continue to fund these campaigns even after the revelation that they are largely based on “manufactured” and false evidence! The claims regularly being touted by these NGO’s are not backed up by any hard evidence.
The claims have indeed been through well thought out distortions and with seeded campaigns which are managed across different regions giving the impression of spontaneity and popularity the NGO’s manage to drag others into the scam. Suddenly we have zoos, politicians, and even girl guides getting sucked into the vacuum and fighting a cause that has been largely based on fabrication of the stats.
This is just another example of how low the EC is prepared to stoop in its efforts to drive palm oil out of the market. THE END