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Fonterra – killing Orangutans.

Written By: - Date published: 3:48 pm, October 6th, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, farming, sustainability - Tags:

There has been an interesting ad from Greenpeace running around the site today. It is obviously intended to go viral before the lawyers from Fonterra get it into court…

I think I might help out a bit… So should you – dump it onto the social media.

45 comments on “Fonterra – killing Orangutans. ”

  1. the sprout 1

    Have seen van der Heyden has been caught practicing calf abortion to increase his milk production? It is truly disgusting.


    Fonterra have condemned the practice but their Chair still does it on his own farm.

    Where do they get these monkeys?

    • grumpy 1.1

      Another dairy farmer with a dutch name in the news again. Calf abortion is a disgrace, I thought it was banned but it appears it’s only “being phased out”. What’s the bet as a result of Fonterra lobbying.

      • Nick C 1.1.1

        Whats your position on human abortion?

        • grumpy

          Pretty much the same – it’s the mother’s right to choose. Now, plonker, have you ever seen a cow give birth to an induced calf and try her heart out trying to get it up? Cows have huge mothering instinct, the greatest effect is not on the calf but the cow.

          What’s you position on forced abortion in the 8th month on humans plonker?

          • Rob A

            And how many human mothers get thier head cut off 10 months later because they’ve failed to get re-impregnated in time?

            And gidday Grumpy, they miss you on usenet

            • grumpy

              Wrong “grumpy”, there must be more than one of us – who would have thought…….?

            • Nick C

              The right to have an abortion is based on the idea that humans have the right to control their bodies. Saying that a cow should have the right to control its body is absurd given that we are happy to kill cows for food; clearly no control of body there.

              It would be consistent of you to believe that calf abortion is wrong if you think that meat and farming animals generally is wrong, which is not what most people think.

              • Rob A

                True, but were many practices on farms that are now no longer allowed for a lot lesser reasons than the issues around induction. In the time I was farming we had tail docking banned and bobby calve collection change from the roadside to the rearing barn. Its all about market perception and if Fonterra chooses to show thier dairy products as clean and green from free range cows then certain things have to change. Palm kernel, effluent disposal and induction included.

                Speaking as someone who spent 15 years dairy farming I can see the reasons for induction to continue and how in the long run its actually better for animal welfare but as this whole debate shows there isn’t much point in fighting the tide of laymen who only see dead calves on the TV.

        • grumpy

          Oh, and Nick C, those that are born still breathing are killed with a hammer – does that happen in your local abortion clinic? plonker!

  2. grumpy 2

    I am sure someone can help out here, but I understood palm kernel was a byproduct of bio diesel production?

    • lprent 2.1

      Yep in some areas. But the bulk of its use has been in cooking oils. Wikipedia has a pretty good section


      But also have a close read of this…


      The problem for climate change (apart from deforestation that Greenpeace is talking about) is that most of new palm oil plantations are in recently deforested peat bogs.

      Peat bogs are massive stores of biologically stored anaerobic carbon. When they dry out the bogs for farming they also start the process of drying out that carbon and it winds up in the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4 over the following decades.

      At many levels commercial palm oil plantations cost a damn sight more than they are ‘beneficial’.

    • Bunji 2.2

      it can be used as bio diesel – which can be made from all sorts of plants. Indeed in Malaysia 5% of all diesel must be palm oil.

      But the vast majority of palm kernel / palm oil comes from unsustainably logged forest in Malaysia and (particularly) Indonesia. Destroying vast swathes of forest, and habitat for more endangered species (including the iconic orang-utan).

      Most major companies seem to be part of a sustainable palm oil group (like Cadbury’s, who tried to use this as their defence)… which endeavours to try to get sustainable palm oil… whilst actually buying unsustainable palm oil. I guess over the next ~5 years we’ll see how much they’re talk and how much they’re action – they have aims to be a nearly sustainable industry by 2015. Whether there’s any orang-utans around by then, well that’s another question.

      • Bunji 2.2.1

        Oop, lprent’s answered faster and better than I.

        • grumpy

          Thanks lprent and Bunji, so what we have here is the dairy industry (who I have no time for) are using a product that is surplus when biodiesel is made. But, weren’t Greenpeace etc. the ones who campaigned for biodiesel? Isn’t this a bit hypocritical if Greenpeace?

          • lprent

            I can’t remember Greenpeace ever campaigning for biodiesel, and I’d be pretty surprised if they had. Perhaps you should look for a supporting link?

            Mostly the recent proponents of biodiesel that I’ve seen have been farmers and their political supporters. The previous generation of proponents were economic isolationists.

            There are quite a few proponents wanting to get fuel from waste products. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a green activist wanting to cut down forests to institute a monoculture.

            I suspect you’re just looking at a RWNJ myth….

            • grumpy

              Perhaps a Greenpeace type person might clarify……..

              • jimmy

                Palm Kernel is a by-product of palm oil manufacture (its the shell of the nut that palm oil is made of). Basically its a suplementary feed that farmers use to boost production and a sizeable chunk of the dairy expansion in the past decade has been fueled by it (most farms are pasture based but farmers often give the cows a feed after milking from what I understand). They try justify it in saying that its only a by-product and it would otherwise go to waste but if you know basic economics making something more profitable is a sure way of incentivising it.

                Heres a quote from the herald to show just how bad it has got: “In 2004 when the study began, palm kernel cake imports were just 95,920 tonnes. In 2008 they swelled to just over a million tonnes, falling back to 665,382 tonnes in 2009”.

                In the same article they are also talking about possible links with trans-fats from palm kernel coming through our milk supply as well (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/healthy-living/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501238&objectid=10677503). Palm kernels is just a cheap but highly destructive way of making us richer at the expense of the planet.

                • grumpy

                  OK, you got me, pretty convincing argument! Damn dairy farmers.

                • graham

                  You are incorrect pke like any other supliment is used when growth doesnt equal demand
                  extra feed in the south island is used on the sholders of the season
                  sometimes it can be to wet or to dry and it impacts on grass growth
                  in my case i am currently feeding 2kg/day when growth hits 65/day i will stop
                  at the end of the day the reason why we do it is to make money if it cost us to much we would stop
                  The dairy industry is what fuels this economy thank you would be nice

            • Rob A


              But to be fair that is a decade old link although you did say ‘ever’

              • lprent

                Yeah I should have been clearer and specified unsustainable bio-diesel… The problem with palm-oil is that it is pretty inherently a slash’n’burn technology and unsustainable over the medium term.

                I have less of an issue with the crops identified by that Greenpeace identified..

                It is made either directly from crops such as rapeseed, sunflower and soya, or by recycling cooking oil.

                From memory the palm-oil based version is a relatively recent aberration

    • graham 2.3

      you do realise only 1 in 5 calfs are reared the rest are sent on the bobby truck after 4 days

      • grumpy 2.3.1

        Of course I do – that is the way it’s always been – except for those that get raised to weaning and then sold, or replacement heifers. That is traditional farming and has nothing to do, nor mitigates inducing.
        As a beef farmer, we also induced (late or over term) a couple of cows this year but only for the health of the cow. All calves survived and are happily with their mothers. funny, but in our business we do everything we can to keep calves alive…….

        • graham

          you do realise it is aganist the current guide lines to have a live calf after induction
          a calf is worth to us somewere between $2-30
          a cow will produce $2800 for me this year
          and at the end of the day you still kill yours

  3. belladonna 3

    Dairy – kills the planet, kills the cows and kills us.

  4. Saga 4

    This is misinterpretation. Additional feeding is a normal practice in the world. ( I am from Poland and there you have to feed cows during the half of the Autumn, whole winter and a half of the spring. One of the stupid Greenpeace campaigns. I would go for a campaign against calf abortion.
    But Greenpeace don’t have one!

    • lprent 4.1

      The point is that if they fed from materials that they make locally during spring and summer, I don’t think that anyone would have too many issues.

      However when you ship additional feed in from halfway around the world it does seem somewhat silly and unsustainable.

      Moreover when that feed comes from a completely unsustainable source it becomes ludicrous. Farmers getting reliant on such a source are setting themselves up for failure when (not if) the source of such feed ever gets shut off.

      It gets totally moronic when you realize the devastating slash and burn deforestation that goes on to produce plantations that will be unproductive after they’ve exhausted the soil fertility.

      • grumpy 4.1.1

        As a dry stock farmer in Canterbury who sells grass to dairy farmers, I believe that Canterbury is not capable of growing enough feed to satisfy the dairy industry now (in a normal year). Hence the palm kernel?

        • graham

          grumpy you are incorrect
          I grow 16 tonnes a hectare of grass per year on my irrigated farm
          factor in the grain and other suppliments that is not a issue
          The problem with grain is you can only feed 4kg day of grain
          and buying grass to make silage is not worth it
          it costs $3.5 of grain or pke to produce a kgms
          it costs $4.8 of grass or maze silage to produce a kgms
          And even if it was so what you have to think of dairy farms as mini factorys we are converting kgdms to milk
          just like china imports iron ore and coal to make steel

          • grumpy

            graham, unlike you many dairy farmers are not self sufficient and rely heavily on buying in feed. Last year we got 14c/kg, the year before it was 17c/kg, not sure what it will be this year. Many dry stock and arable farmers in Canterbury sell their excess grass to dairy farmers – as I am sure you know.

            • graham

              that may be so mate but the numbers dont stack up
              if buying in feed grain or pke is the way to go its the wastage that kills sillage
              unless you are feeding in summer with no mud you can expect 40 percent wastage
              i buy in about 300kgs a cow all pke at this stage but plan to put in a grain feeder next season .but will expect to still need about 100kg a cow of pke

              • Rob A

                Whats your stocking rate graham? And your N rate?

                Because your numbers aren’t adding up for me if I’m reading correctly that you need to feed 300 kg per cow over a season. If you are needing to feed over 4kg/day of pke you are heading for dramas mate

                You talk about needing to buy in grass for silage not being worth it but where is your surplus going?

                • graham

                  i make some from my own land
                  because it a surplus it is less already 14-17 cents cheaper a kg dm
                  200kg hectare per year
                  in canterbury average suppliment fead to a cow is from 300-600 it depends on your local climate etc
                  i feed 400kgs
                  at the end of the day its all about what comes out the over end in cash that is what counts
                  you do the math milking season of 280 days average of 1.5kg a day

      • Joe Bloggs 4.1.2

        more dissembling and halftruths eh Munt?

        Yep in some areas. But the bulk of its use has been in cooking oils
        PKE is a by-product from the extraction of palm oil – it’s not used in cooking oils, it’s a byproduct of cooking oil production. The oil producers should be congratulated for finding an environmentally useful way of using the processing wastes like this

        when you ship additional feed in from halfway around the world …
        It doesn’t come from half way round the world – NZ imports from Malaysia and Indonesia.

        Too much emotive BS, not enough grasp of reality.

      • graham 4.1.3

        So china shouldnt use our high quality coal combined with the aussie iron ore to make steel
        useing some stocks of a waste product to increase milk solids is no different
        in fact it is great business

  5. BLiP 5

    Brilliant – just brilliant.

  6. Ron 6

    Well “dairy” doesn’t do any such thing. Some current dairy priactices certainly contribute to all three outcomes.

  7. d2ba 7

    Dave Nash Band, Fonterra You Dirty Bastards

  8. GP 8

    Putting aside the ethics of using PKE, I just wanted to make these points.

    People are forgetting here that the PKE import spike coincided with the drought in 2007-2008.
    Prices for supplementry feeds other than PKE ie feed wheat and barley and maize skyrocketed at the same time and this is why many dairy farmers used PKE as it was cheap.
    I work in the farming industry in South Canterbury and my impression from talking to farmers is that there is a move away from using tonnes of PKE as a supplement and a shift back to grass only diets and feed grain and barley.

    This is because many farmers recognise that PKE isn’t good nutrutionally for cows. It messes with their metabolic system and their stomachs often have trouble digesting it and ironically I hear that the cows produce less milk eating it, plus the price of feed grain has come right down too.

    In saying that, there will always be farmers that will use it because its a cheap, easy, convenient feed source and with more droughts to come, I think its here to stay. I’m not defending it but that’s the reality of the situation.

    The other thing that hasn’t been mentioned here is that PKE imports are a huge biosecurity threat to this country as those countries in south east asia that export the stuff dont follow the same strict regualtions that we do.

  9. To mark passing 70,000 views of the Fonterra milk ad Greenpeace has launched http://www.fonterra-secrets.com

  10. nick 10

    To mark topping 70,000 views of the video we’ve launched a new showcase page at http://www.fonterra-secrets.com

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