New Zealand: The milk ad that big dairy would rather you not see

Greenpeace produced this clever (and grotesque) "ad" for milk to draw attention to the destruction of South East Asian rainforests to sustain industrial-scale dairy farming in New Zealand. (thanks, Nick Young)


  1. Palm Kernel Expeller (what the feed is made from) is a by-product of the palm oil/kernal industry. It is not itself a significant driver of that industry.

    Be wary of Greenpeace claims. It is also worth investigating how Fronterra sources their feed material.

      1. How is milk disgusting? All mammals drink it at some point in their lives. It all comes from boobs. Sure, I’m not a cow, but we all have things in common (like being mammals). Cows have boobs, I have boobs, and both of us are capable of making milk.

        I refuse to buy into the idea that it’s “gross” to drink milk because it doesn’t come from my same species.

    1. @dbcooper – Palm kernel is a lucrative part of the palm products business worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Fotnerra’s use of PKE directly supports the palm industry.

      It’s a cop out to say that it’s OK because it’s a byproduct. It’d be like saying it’s OK to import whale skin because the whale skin is only a byproduct of the whaling industry.

  2. Beating people over the head with grotesque shocking images will always convince people you are right just ask the right to life nut jobs.

  3. I’m working and don’t really have the time to devote to researching the main driver of the palm oil industry. Somebody please tell me it’s not movie theater popcorn.

    1. @knoxblox – Along with the pulp & paper industry, Palm oil is one of the major drivers of deforestation in Indonesia. Key products made from oil palm are crude palm oil and palm kernel oil (used mainly in foods, cosmetics and now biofuels) and palm kernel expeller (PKE) used for animal feed.

      The destruction of rainforests and peat lands is the main reason Indonesia accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation, and why the country ranks as the world’s third largest emitter.

  4. I was fully expecting this ad to sexualize the actress in it. Then I remembered this was a Greenpeace ad, and not PETA.

    Thanks Greenpeace, for making a compelling and memorable ad without promoting the violence against women that PETA trades in.

    1. Yes, PETA would have had a lactating actress squirt milk from her own breasts into her husband’s coffee, the kids’ breakfast cereal, etc. (And if you think I’m kidding, just wait a few years…)

  5. Disingenuous propaganda with an environmental slant is still disingenuous propaganda.
    The ad is clever, but I dislike being lied to.

    1. @Beelzebuddy – In what way do you think the video is disingenuous?

      The presence of orangutan hair in the milk is obviously symbolic and there is no question that Fonterra imports 25% of the world’s entire production of PKE which directly contributes to the deforestation in Indonesia.

    2. I am in Indonesia right now. There is absolutely no question that rainforests are being destroyed for palm plantations – around a MILLION hectares have been allocated.

      This includes orangutan and tiger habitat and indigenous peoples’ lands that the Govt is allocating for “conversion”.

      Anything NZ can do to put pressure on the companies contributing and anything that organizations like Greenpeace can do is important. Opinions about whether the ad is to your taste or not is not particularly important in the scale of things. Stopping Fonterra being party to this is.

      We’ve wiped out more than enough native forests in NZ – we need to learn our own lessons from that and not contribute to it happening in other countries while branding oursekves as clean and green.

  6. There’s a lot I don’t like about dairy farming practices here in New Zealand, but overall it’s a lot better than a lot of other countries, at least in terms of how the animals live (on grassy fields, no CAFOs).

    There’s a lot I don’t like about the palm oil industry, but I somehow doubt NZ’s use of a palm oil byproduct is causing much destruction of rainforests.

    I would really like to see Fonterra feed cows something else in winter when grass is short on the ground. They use it because it is cheap and high in fat.


    The primary driver for growing the crop is palm oil. Therefore, while using the palm kernel expeller does increase the value of the crop, it wouldn’t stop it being used. If anything, it makes the crop more environmentally friendly because the expeller isn’t left to rot. It’s like complaining about the manufacture of gelatin from a cow – completely ignoring hamburger and steaks.

    If Greenpeace wants to go after palm oil, they should go after, oh I don’t know, PALMOLIVE, the other big brands that use Palmitate (look at your shampoo bottle), and the large chocolate manufacturers.

  8. I don’t see how this is effective at anything but making you sick to your stomach the next time you pour milk. This kind of stuff screams “we’re clever, look!” more than whatever their message is supposed to be. I suppose it’s effective but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth (heh).

  9. There’s more milk in the glass at the end than there is when she swallows the chunk of orangutan. If I’d made a video with continuity error like this, I wouldn’t want anyone to see it, either. It’s amateurish and diminishes the message.

  10. Let’s not get distracted by a discussion of the merits of milk. Tropical deforestation for palm oil plantations is a serious problem. It’s driven partly by the food processing industry, because palm kernel oil is stable to oxidation. It is used as a replacement for artificially hydrogenated oil, which contains trans fats.

    As usual, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

  11. After Youtubing* “milk bet” last night and seeing the repercussions of trying to drink a gallon of milk in an hour, this was on the meh side of the ick spectrum. I don’t like how Greenpeace thinks that I have to be grossed out by something in order to be ecologically minded. They could have shown fat and happy cows at the expense of
    rain forest creatures’ habitat instead of this cheap shot.

    *I’m gerunding the intertubes!

  12. A quarter of the world’s palm kernel is a big deal, and undoubtedly is a major contributer to the profitability of the palm industry.

    Sure it’s not as big an income earner as the oil but it’s certainly significant enough to affect the economics of deciding to chop rainforests down.

    It’s a dirty, corrupt and destructive business and a company like Fonterra would do well to stay a million miles away from it.

  13. To all of the people who think PKE is just a by-product:
    Try, for few seconds, to think properly instead of repeating what they want you to think.
    Fonterra “gives” hundreds of millions of dollars every year to the ones burning the forest (I don’t talk about the consequences of destroying the forest, it could be too much for your small brains).
    That’s a fact, no discussion about this (just read their own annual report).
    So, doesn’t it look clear to you ?
    We don’t fucking care about those stupid excuses.
    They contribute to it, directly. That’s all ! THAT’S ALL !!!
    A 5-year old kid could understand this…

  14. lots of distracting talk about style and messengers and lies…shame to miss the point really

    i checked out a q&a on the greenpeace website, and while obviously it supports their claims, the claims are largely externally referenced and there’s plenty of sources. More reports there too.

    But at the end of the day only a few basic facts are needed – The palm oil industry is major contributor to Indo’s deforestation. Which in turn, along with destroying monkey homes, is a significant contributor to climate change and its resulting impacts on ways of life, economy and environment and which will make all this seem very petty.

    As it should be, the writing is on the wall for the industry as . And fonterra with a notable 25% wedge of the PKE element could and should move on, and the sooner the better. More than enough facts, science, say that…

  15. Palm Oil alone is an ~ US$45B a year market (current price US$933/metric tonne, market size ~ 48 million metric tons per annum). The PKE market pales in comparison, and has very little impact on palm oil consumption.

  16. Great video! And bang on – Fonterra import a lot of palm kernel directly (and palm kernel makes up around 13 per cent of the economic worth of the palm produced so hardly a byproduct) and then most of the remaining imported PKE ends up on Fonterra farms. And only 6 per cent would have nay sort of sustainability attached to it. NZ imports a quarter of the world’s supply of palm kernel. And due to palm kernel now being an additional money making stream in the palm industry it makes it more of an attractive option. Therefore increasing deforestation.

  17. Malaysian palm oil industry revenues (2009):

    Palm Oil 36,906.30
    Palm Kernel Oil 3,021.00
    Palm Kernel Cake 495.7
    Oleochemical Products 6,559.20
    Biodiesel 605.8
    Finished Products 1,911.10
    Others 91.2
    TOTAL REVENUE (RM Million) 49,590.30

    Palm Kernal Cake is < 1% of revenue. By-product. Spent Cake products < 0.2% of revenue. By-products.

  18. Palm Kernal Cake is < 1% of revenue. By-product. Spent Cake products < 0.2% of revenue. By-products.

  19. 3rd time lucky:

    Palm Kernel Cake is less than 1% of revenue. It’s a By-product. Spent Cake products less than 0.2% of revenue. By-products.

  20. This ad is brilliant stuff! Its not about Palm kernels being the main product of the palm or not, its about fonterra handing over 23o million $ to criminals. They should not be part of it.

  21. Palm plantations are driving indigenous peoples off their lands all over the Asia-Pacific region. Many of these people are already fighting for their lives, for self determination and their rights to continue sustainably managing their forests in defense of everybody’s planet.

    We all need to stop companies like Fonterra effectively subsidising these operations and expose the relationship between these palm plantation and forestry companies and the governments of colonising states like Indonesia. At the same time, we have to stand up against efforts to steal their lands via carbon forestry based carbon trading schemes like REDD under the false pretence of taking action to halt climate change. [link:]

    Climate Justice means supporting those fighting for their lives and livelihoods on the front lines of climate change in order to protect us all against those who profit from carbon intensive industry and those who promote carbon credit co2lonisation as a solution to climate change.

Comments are closed.