It’s not okay

NZ Horse & Pony - - Your Letters - Janet O’meara, Auck­land

I re­fer to the ques­tion in ‘Ask the ex­perts’ in April’s is­sue re­gard­ing feed­ing Palm Ker­nel Ex­peller (PKE) to horses. While the nu­tri­tion­ist did not make it sound like an ideal feed source for horses, I was dis­ap­pointed there was no men­tion of where PKE comes from or the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect it is hav­ing over­seas, which surely in it­self would be enough to put any­one off know­ingly feed­ing it.

I will try to keep this brief. In In­done­sia and Malaysia, an area equiv­a­lent to 300 soc­cer fields of rain­for­est is be­ing cleared ev­ery hour in or­der for the palm oil tree to be planted in place of the rain­for­est. They clear the for­est by set­ting fire to it, and ev­ery­thing liv­ing in the for­est also gets burnt.

Rain­forests are home to the Su­ma­tran tiger and the orangutan, among a lot of other wildlife. If they don’t get burnt in the fires and are left try­ing to find their homes, the orangutan get clubbed to death by the palm oil plan­ta­tion work­ers. Due to palm oil plan­ta­tions, the UN says there is a risk that no wild orangutan will ex­ist out­side pro­tected ar­eas by 2020 – that’s not far away!

To keep up with palm oil con­sump­tion, in 2013, nine mil­lion hectares of land in In­done­sia was cov­ered in palm oil plan­ta­tions. That’s nine mil­lion hectares of land which was once in rain­for­est.

Palm oil is com­monly used in food items and house­hold clean­ers so it is very dif­fi­cult to avoid al­to­gether, un­for­tu­nately, and while PKE is the by-prod­uct af­ter the palm oil is ex­tracted, I do not think we need to con­trib­ute to the dev­as­ta­tion any fur­ther by feed­ing PKE to our horses, and in­creas­ing the de­mand for any part of it.

So I think the re­ply to the ques­tion asked “Can you please tell me if it’s okay for horses to eat PKE?” is NO, it is not eth­i­cally okay.

You can learn more about it here: www.face­book.com/pal­moil­prod­ucts in­aus­tralia/?fref=ts

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