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Protesters dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse arrested at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank [Updated]

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UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney.

Protesters dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse were arrested Wednesday morning after they chained themselves to the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.

The two costumed activists were protesting what they said was the company's use of paper that contains fiber from endangered Indonesian rain forests in its children’s books.

The protesters arrived about 7 a.m. and chained themselves to the gate while two others unfurled a banner over the company's entrance gate.

"Today's protest is a loud and colorful message to the executives at Disney that it's totally unacceptable for them to continue to drag their feet when Indonesian rain forests are falling at one of the highest rates in the world," said Laurel Sutherlin, a spokesman for Rainforest Action Network, which organized the protest.

Sutherlin said the group presented evidence to the company last year showing the paper could be traced to Indonesian rain forests.

[Updated at 12:21 p.m.: A Disney spokeswoman called the protest "nothing more than a publicity stunt" and said the company is committed to using sustainable paper.

Michelle Bergman said Disney has adopted a policy that by September all paper used in books and magazines by the company's North American publishers will contain recycled content, be sourced from certified forests or be of known origin.

"We only work with manufacturers who have committed to us that they will only use sustainable paper," Bergman said in a statement.

Representatives for the Rainforest Action Network said the policy does not go far enough to ensure paper from Indonesian rain forests will not end up in the company's books.

"We know about Disney's policy," said the group's Robin Averbeck. "We have asked them to answer and clarify a number of questions, and to date they haven't given an answer that shows that they do have [proper] safeguards in place."]

LA Times Blog
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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