The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (AB 572) has advanced to the State Senate Appropriations Committee following a vote by the Committee on Governmental Organization last week.

The legislation is co-sponsored by nonprofit animal welfare organizations Peace 4 Animals, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and Friends of the Earth, and aims to help end the destruction of rainforests through deforestation, thereby saving endangered species such as orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Through the bill, companies in California who sell commodities like palm oil or rubber that put rainforests at risk will be required to adhere to a “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” (NDPE) policy.

“I have long advocated for change in the palm oil industry having experienced the devastation it continues to cause to the rainforests and endangered species first-hand in Sumatra and Borneo,” explains Katie Cleary, founder of Peace 4 Animals and its news network World Animal News (WAN).

Cleary and her team came across this problem recently while filming the forthcoming documentary We Are One in Indonesia, when they helped save a pregnant orangutan whose habitat was due to be destroyed by bulldozers.

When WAN recently caught up with passionate conservationist Begley, Jr. at the Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) and The Orangutan Project fundraiser, he highlighted the palm oil industry as one of the biggest threats to the survival of orangutans.

“Assault against orangutans continues to this day, so more must be done to protect them,” Begley said, adding, “Don’t buy products that contain palm oil.”

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Ed Begley Jr and orangutan