Stand up to dairy

The news that our dairy farmers are incorporating palm oil into cattle feed is more than a little disturbing.

There is nothing inherently wrong with palm oil, but the industry itself has a very dark side to it.

  • According to the WWF over 160,000 square miles (about the size of California) of forest has been destroyed in order to make way for palm oil production.
  • Use of children as young as 8 for labour in the plantation
  • Abuse and rape of women who work in the plantations and earn as little as $2.50 a day.
  • Use of dangerous chemicals such as paraquat by workers who have no proper protective equipment.

There is no good reason to have our cattle eating palm oil products when there are plenty of alternatives (like grass maybe!). So why are dairy farmers importing this stuff from the other side of the world, with all the environmental damage that entails?

Now that this has become public knowledge the dairy industry wants to do its own investigation. Given that dairy farmers are in a very privileged position in Canada whereby they have guaranteed prices and output for their products, the least they can do is give us all top quality. We already pay twice for every item of dairy produce that we buy: we pay higher prices than our neighbours to the south, and we have paid billions in taxpayer subsidies to keep the farmers in the manner to which they are accustomed. The government should ban the use of palm oil in cattle feed outright, although that might involve them growing a spine in order to stand up to the powerful dairy lobby.

Peter Emery, Kelowna

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