issue 117

 Boycott news from issue 117 of Ethical Consumer March / April 2009


Boycott De Beers – A Success...but...

On 15th October Survival International re-launched its Boycott De Beers campaign as the mining giant returned to its operations in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. Survival claims the company’s diamond exploration programme would be devastating for the indigenous population, and the reserve’s ecology.

However, on 29th October De Beers issued a statement saying it had stopped operations on the land of the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana. This was due to pressure from Survival and as a result of consultations with locals including Bushmen living inside the reserve. The company says it has no intention of carrying out any further activity there, and will not do so until a sustainable, long-term management plan is agreed.

Previous attempts to mine for diamonds in the reserve led to a massive international campaign against De Beers. Survival successfully persuaded supermodels Iman and Lily Cole to stop working with the company, and many protested outside its stores in London and New York. Survival said that, “This is a huge victory for the Bushmen, although De Beers retains a number of prospecting licences in the reserve.”

However on December 10th, the Botswana government approved a new proposal by Gem Diamonds for a diamond mine on the land of the Kalahari Bushmen. Botswana’s President, Ian Khama, told the Bushmen that their hunting way of life was an ‘archaic fantasy’.

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Airlines stop transport of primates for research

BUAV have announced that several airlines had stopped transporting primates for the research industry. Campaigners had been calling for ‘cargo cruelty’ carriers to put ethics before profits for some time.

US Airways and Eva Air have pulled out of the business while some of the world’s largest airlines, including United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Northwest Airlines, Qantas Airways, South African Airways, Delta Airlines and China Airlines have re-confirmed their commitment to eliminating ‘cargo cruelty’ by opting out of carrying non-human primates as freight for the research industry.

Airline TAP Portugal issued this statement, “We wish the campaign to be a success and that the list of airlines rejecting transportation of these animals grows more and more.”

Primates transported via air freight are packed into small wooden crates (usually too small to allow them to stand up), predominantly on passenger air flights, to destinations around the world. In addition to the cramped conditions, the monkeys may have to endure inadequate ventilation, noise and extreme temperature fluctuations as they are shipped around the globe.

BUAV says the primate research industry is now dependent on a dwindling number of airlines. They include:
• Air France which transported wild-caught macaques from Mauritius and captive-bred macaques from Vietnam to the USA.
• China Eastern and China Southern Airlines which both transported thousands of macaques from China to the USA.
• BWIA which transported African green monkeys from Barbados and capuchins and tamarinds from Guyana. All had been captured in the wild.
• Philippine Airlines which transported macaques from Indonesia to the USA.
• Both American Airlines and Continental Airlines have transported primates from the USA to Europe.

BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said: “The BUAV welcomes the increasing number of airlines that have taken a stance and now refuse to transport primates for the research industry. We now urge those remaining airlines to reconsider their role in this cruel trade.” See for more information.



Leona Lewis Boycotts Harrods

X Factor winner Leona Lewis rejected an offer, reputedly of £100,000, from Mohammed Al Fayed, to open last year’s Harrods’ winter sale because the store sold fur.

Lewis, who was last year voted Peta’s World’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity, said: “I’m totally against animal cruelty. I don’t have clothes, shoes or bags made from any animal products.”

Harrods is the only department store in the UK that continues to sell fur and is regularly targeted by animal cruelty campaigners. Harrods’ sales are usually opened by an A-list female celebrity and in December opera singer Katherine Jenkins did the honours. Over 40 protesters turned out to greet her (see picture).

According to the Daily Mail, Lewis is reportedly in talks with BHS boss Sir Philip Green about creating a range of non-leather bags and shoes for Topshop.

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