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Activists Occupy Cargill HQ, Shutting Down Business for Cutting Down Rainforest

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Nation's Largest Private Agribusiness Company Under Fire for Rainforest Destruction
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wayzata, Minn. - In the wake of a damning report linking Cargill to the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests, activists with Rainforest Action Network occupied the executive offices of the nation's largest private agribusiness company today. Playing a loud recording of chainsaws cutting down rainforests and holding signs reading "This is the sound of your supply chain," and "Mr. Page: Rainforest Destruction Stops with You," five activists locked themselves to the staircase of the Lake Office, blocking the entrance to the company's executive offices for over two hours. All five activists were arrested.

The protest was accompanied by a dozen demonstrators at the front of Cargill's Wayzata headquarters, greeting employees as they entered with a sign reading: "Rainforest Destruction Starts with Cargill."

"Cargill is cutting down irreplaceable rainforests, driving critically endangered animals like the orangutan to the brink of extinction," said Ashley Schaeffer of Rainforest Action Network, who was one of the arrested activists. "And then, they're lying about it to their customers and to the American public. We found out what Cargill is doing and we want it stopped, now."

Cargill, the nation's largest importer of palm oil, was directly linked to rainforest destruction yesterday in a report released by Rainforest Action Network entitled Cargill's Problems with Palm Oil: A Burning Threat in Borneo. The report documents systematic failures by Cargill to implement RSPO Principles and Criteria and respect Indonesian law throughout its palm oil supply chain.  The report also documents rainforest destruction on two plantations that Cargill owns, but has hidden from the Indonesian government
and the RSPO. Over 10,500 hectares of rainforest, and area the size of Walt Disney World has been destroyed since 2005, causing significant conflict with traditional and Indigenous communities.

"CEO Greg Page can stop Cargill from destroying rainforests any time that he chooses, but he wouldn't even talk to us about it" said Desarae Walker, a local activist who was arrested after xx hours in the Cargill offices. "Orangutans are dying. Cargill needs to stop lying about what they're doing in Borneo."

Palm oil is one of the most commonly found ingredients in thousands of consumer products, from soap and lipstick, to breakfast cereal and soymilk. Its use is widespread and increasing around the world, but particularly in the United States, where its consumption has tripled in the last five years. As the nation's largest importer of palm oil, Cargill supplies the commonly used ingredient to some of the nation's largest food companies, including General Mills, Nestle, Mars and Kraft, making it likely that almost all Americans have bought Cargill's palm oil sometime within the last week.

Unfortunately, palm oil has been tightly linked to the destruction of some of the world's remaining rainforests. Expanding consumption has triggered expanded production, replacing once lush rainforests with palm oil plantations and endangering unique species including orangutans and sun bears.

The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.ran.org/cargillreport
Free photographs of the activists and protest can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/93T3Tg

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

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