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Revisiting Dying for a Biscuit

While filming Dying for a Biscuit - about the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest for palm oil production - we found Melay, an orphaned orangutan.

She was chained by the neck on a balcony, having been taken in as a pet years earlier.

On our travels, we learned that this happens often. Baby orangutans are orphaned when their mothers are killed as logging and palm oil companies clear vast tracks of their natural habitat.

Some of our viewers have contacted us to ask what has happened to Melay.

The International Animal Rescue charity have told me that they are planning a rescue as soon as they have completed work on a permanent rescue centre they are building on a 40-acre site in Ketapang.

You can see pictures taken by Daily Mirror photographer, Roger Allen, which will help the IAR obtain the government permits needed to release her.

Meanwhile there has been some good news for Indonesia's orangutans.

Nestlé has said it will make the palm oil in its best-selling chocolate bars more eco-friendly, by promising to cancel contracts with any firm found to be chopping down rainforests to produce the palm oil it uses in KitKat, Aero and Quality Street.

This concession is a victory for Greenpeace. A three-month long public awareness campaign culminated with what new media watchers have deemed a coup on Facebook, along with a powerful spoof advert for KitKat on YouTube.

Their Facebook campaign prompted supporters to bombard Nestlé's own fan page with critical comments.

Nestle's initial reaction was to delete the unfavourable comments, but they soon backtracked and realised that this innovative use of social media had perhaps won the upper hand in the debate.

You can read an interesting analysis of the Greenpeace campaign here.

Their You Tube video attracted 1.5 million viewers. While it was temporarily deleted for legal reasons, it has now been re-published.

You can read more reports about this at the links below:

Independent: Online protest drives Nestlé to environmentally friendly palm oil

Greenpeace Social Media Campaign Forces Nestlé To Stop Using Unsustainable Palm Oil


  • Comment number 1.

    What frustrates me about such programmes is they really only touch the surface of the issue. Environmental destruction, habitat loss, species extinction, human displacement etc all these are the consequence of an economic system based on the pursuit of profit. Any talk of reforming it through regulation or by imposing morality – a kinder, gentler capitalism – is both irrational and deceitful.


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