It’s not okay
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