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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Life > June 2017 > THE PRIMATE OBJECTIVE


Neotropical Primate Conservation trustee Katie Chabriere talks about the link between veganism and conservation

Palm oil. A word that for most people conjures up the image of an emaciated orangutan, homeless in a razed Malaysian wasteland that used to be rainforest; rather like how the picture of the stranded polar bear is now becoming synonymous with the word climate change.

So does that mean that the palm oil campaign has worked?

It is amazing how many times we have seen that image of the orangutan and been told palm oil is the culprit, and yet sadly it is still the most widely produced vegetable oil worldwide and estimates indicate that 98 per cent of Malaysia’s forests will have disappeared by 2022. Equally as alarming, yet given much less media coverage, is the soya/cattle ranch conundrum. Be it clever diversions by meat lobbyists or a general ‘ignorance is bliss’ attitude for those who cannot bear the idea of living without meat, sadly we are not yet at the stage where for most people hearing the words ‘beef burger’ or ‘bacon sandwich’ flashes up a mental reminder that 4 million hectares (and counting) of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every year for animal agriculture.

Most people are familiar with the ‘football pitch size piece of forest lost every minute’ anecdote, and yet only a handful actually know why this large amount is disappearing. Very few consumers realise that the 4 million hectares statistic cited above represents the planting of soya, of which more than 90 per cent is for animal feed (and this includes for local, organic animals - being local and organic doesn’t stop them being fed on rainforest-planted soya). People still seem to live under the illusion that the meat and milk they consume comes from animals fed on grass. I am regularly confounded to learn that a large percentage of fellow conservationists and environmentalists are not even vegetarian, let alone vegan.

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About Vegan Life

Welcome to June’s issue of Vegan Life magazine. I’m really excited about this one – as you’ll have seen, we have a very special cover star this issue. Evanna Lynch is known for her acting (she’s currently treading the boards in London’s West End) and previously played the role of Luna in the Harry Potter franchise. I was lucky enough to meet Evanna herself at Vegan Life Live in January, and it was fantastic to talk to her about some of her upcoming projects as well as her views on veganism. The brilliant profile piece inside was written by another wonderful vegan I have been lucky enough to meet on a number of occasions (and who has been featured herself on these pages in the past), Deni Kirkova. The original images were taken by Toby Shaw – all at Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary. It’s finally summer, which means we can take our dining from ‘al desk-o’ (groan) to al fresco. With this in mind, we have put together a recipe-packed feature to help you enjoy your best vegan barbeque season yet. What role does a plant-based diet play in conservation? We all know how much animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, but what other impacts does it have? Katie Chabriere - a trustee for the UK-based charity Neotropical Primate Conservation – talks about her experience of working on conservation as a vegan. Another really inspiring herbivore in this issue is Jo-Anne McArthur. This amazing photographer has documented hundreds of scenes showing the ways we exploit animals. Her work is incredible, and it was a privilege to chat with her about being an artist. And finally – Dixe Wills is probably one of the most interesting writers I have ever spoken to. As author of a number of popular titles including The Z-Z of Great Britain, Places to Hide in England, Scotland and Wales, New World Order, and The Armchair Naturalist, his latest offering Tiny Campsites has recently been published in its third edition. Have a great month.