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Ballard Organics offers soap to clean oily birds

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 9th, 2010

Photos of oil-soaked birds in the gulf have circled the internet and struck a cord with many people who see them. One of those people is Ben Busby-Collins, the CEO of Ballard Organics.

Photo of heavily oiled Brown Pelicans at Grand Isle, Louisiana on June 3 courtesy International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Earlier this week, Busby-Collins made a few calls to BP to offer their All-Purpose Concentrated Liquid Soap to help clean the birds and animals swimming in the crude. Once he found the right person to talk to, he said he was happy with the reception he got. “They said that it was good I was calling regarding a product and not a service I was trying to provide,” Busby-Collins tells us, “I guess they’ve been receiving a lot of calls about services but not many regarding products that could work for the relief effort.”

Ballard Organics can offer 17,000 gallons of the soap each month to BP for the cleanup efforts, Busby-Collins says, some of which would be donated to the cause. “Our liquid soaps have worked very well on cats and dogs, babies and adults,” he tells us, “Our soaps are milder than commercial petroleum based detergents such as Dawn.”

Busby-Collins is still in talks with BP about the company using the local product. “Wish me luck! Hopefully they’ll be cleaning off those animals with Ballard Organics soaps.” (Disclosure: Ballard Organics is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

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13 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Sig // Jun 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Great local twist to a national disaster. Hope to read how well this works out.

  • 2 Sarah // Jun 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I think I love my ballard organics soap even more now!

  • 3 ecw // Jun 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    If this happens, and you can set up a paypal so we can pay for the donation, I would be all over that. Thank you ballard organics….

  • 4 snoopy // Jun 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I am confused why anyone would donate anything to BP? They can and should pay for everything that is used to clean this mess up.

  • 5 Plasticbags // Jun 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Because their goal isn’t to be right, it’s to save animals. If BP isn’t going to do the right thing, should we let animals die for the sake of being right?

  • 6 Tiny Bubbles // Jun 9, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Great idea and would much rather see them saving animals with this nice organic product than with more chemicals. Good thinking Ballard Organics

  • 7 Dog-Mum // Jun 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I commend Ballard Organics for taking action but according to the following Der Spiegel article it’s pretty hopeless, the birds in the picture are dead birds whether cleaned or not. I am certainly not trying to rain on BO’s parade but I feel that unless we know the real impact none of us will change if we think this can be washed away.

    Speaking the Unspeakable
    From Der Spiegel, May 6, 2010
    A biologist says that efforts to clean oildrenched
    birds in the Gulf of Mexico are in vain.
    For the birds’ sake, it would be faster and less
    painful if animal-rescue workers put them down, she
    says. Studies and other experts back her up.
    “Kill, don’t clean,” is the recommendation of a
    German animal biologist, who this week said that
    massive efforts to clean oil-soaked birds in Gulf of
    Mexico won’t do much to stop a near certain and
    painful death for the creatures.
    Despite the short-term success in cleaning the
    birds and releasing them back into the wild, few, if
    any, have a chance of surviving, says Silvia Gaus, a
    biologist at a national park along the North Sea.
    “According to serious studies, the middle-term
    survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under one
    percent,” Gaus says. “We, therefore, oppose
    cleaning birds.”
    In the path of the Gulf oil spill, which began
    April 20, are several large protected areas for
    wildlife, including a vital nesting area for thousands
    of brown pelicans, which were only removed from
    the U.S. Endangered Species Program last year.
    Louisiana’s Breton National Wildlife Refuge is by
    itself home to 34,000 birds.
    Catching and cleaning oil-soaked birds
    oftentimes leads to fatal stress for the animals.
    Furthermore, forcing the birds to ingest coal
    solutions – or Pepto Bismol, as animal-rescue
    workers are doing along the Gulf Coast – in an
    attempt to prevent the poisonous effects of the oil,
    is ineffective, Gaus says. The birds will eventually
    perish anyway from kidney and liver damage.
    Gaus speaks from 20 years of experience, and
    she worked on the environmental cleanup of the
    Pallas, a cargo ship that spilled 90 tons of oil in the
    North Sea after running aground in October of
    1998. Around 13,000 birds drowned, froze or died
    due to stress as a result of that spill.
    Once covered in oil, a bird will use its bill and
    tongue to remove it from their feathers. Despite
    oil’s terrible taste and smell, a bird will still try and
    clean itself, because it can’t live without clean
    feathers that repel water and regulate its body
    temperature. “Their instinct to clean is greater than
    their instinct to hunt, and as long as their feathers
    are dirty with oil, they won’t eat,” Gaus says.
    But it’s the instinct of biologists, who often feel
    compelled to save the birds out of duty and ethical
    reasons, that will ultimately lead a bird to a worse death, say some. It would be better to let the birds
    die in peace, Gaus says, or kill them “quickly and
    Even dyed-in-the-wool preservationists from the
    World Wildlife Fund agree with Gaus. At the time
    of the 2002 Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain, a
    spokesman from the organization said: “Birds that
    have been covered in oil and can still be caught, can
    no longer be helped.” The Prestige spill killed
    250,000 birds. Of the thousands that were cleaned,
    most died within a few days, and only 600 lived and
    were able to be released into the wild. According to
    a British study, the median lifespan of a bird that
    was cleaned and released was only seven days.

  • 8 Carole // Jun 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I’m impressed, Ben, with your efforts of trying to be part of the solution. I would be happy to donate for that part of it if BP accepts your offer.

  • 9 snoopy // Jun 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    BP will pay you for the soap!!! sell it to them! dont give it away for free.

  • 10 Jon // Jun 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm


    Pretty grim reality. Unfortunate, but true. Regardless, that won’t stop people from trying, because they don’t know what else to do.

    I think we should be looking at this oil disaster as a greater incentive to donate to and fund alternative fuel research. Tons of animals are going to die from this, regardless of the cleaning efforts. Until we lose our unquenchable thirst for oil, disasters like this will continue to destroy this world.

    Also, some reports came out that BP’s carelessness (bad orders, sent to the workers) and greed (time is money, no time for safety) is what caused the explosion. Way to go, BP.

  • 11 sharpei // Jun 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Sounds like disaster profiteering to me.

  • 12 Brian // Jun 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    If one bird is saved from cleaning thousands of them, then it is 100% worth the effort. I don’t understand why it is acceptable in our society to say “kill, don’t clean.” We don’t just kill people because there is only a small chance that they will survive!

    Unfortunately, I’m betting that Dawn will fight against any other company helping, because they want to use this as a marketing ploy.

  • 13 acorniv // Jun 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I love organics for nearly everything, However, research has proven Dawn to be by far the best think for this. I rehab and foster a range of species and only clean with Dawn.

    There is a protocol for dealing with shock. Hydrate, then, feed, and only then clean. I always give Bach Flower Renedies too. I swear by these and have never lost anything to shock.

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