Treevolution: mahogany is murder

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The Independent Culture
So you've given up meat. And fish (well, tuna at least, thinking of the dolphins). And eggs (because of battery hens - you can't be sure how they define "free range"). And milk and cheese (contributing as they do to the veal-calf market). You use lead-free petrol, recycle all your newspapers, bottles, perhaps even your shoes? And just when you thought you'd confronted every exploitation of nature known to man, your furniture comes under suspicion.

But the hardwood trade is a serious issue, and tonight's Encounters: "Survival of the Apes" (7pm C4) is no laughing matter. Adam Tysoe's film exposes the disturbing but direct link between French logging companies carving up the Cameroon rainforest (for sale to Europe, the biggest importer being Britain), and an increase in the great apes -- chimpanzees and gorillas, man's closest relations - being killed for "bushmeat".

As well as the terrible suffering endured by these highly intelligent, sensitive animals, there is also the problem of the many orphaned apes left unable to fend for themselves. And while a few charity workers try to alleviate the symptoms of their plight, the underlying cause goes unchallenged.

Sceptics would do well to watch a thorough, alarming and very convincing documentary. Sympathisers will find themselves campaigning to make pine fashionable again.

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