A three-year investigation by Greenpeace into Brazil’s cattle industry shows that the expansion of the cattle sector is driving the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and threatens to undermine Brazil’s pledge to cut deforestation by 72 percent by 2018. The environmental group also says the cattle industry is the single largest source of deforestation in the world and Brazil’s main source of CO2 emissions.
Brazilian authorities investigating illegal deforestation have accused the suppliers of several UK supermarkets of selling meat linked to the destruction of the rainforest, reports The Guardian. Brazilian firms that supply Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer are among dozens of companies named by prosecutors, who are seeking compensation.
Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecution Office (MPF) has started legal action against 21 farms and slaughterhouse companies, including Bertin, which supplies Tesco and Princes Food with processed beef. The MPF said the investigated Brazilian companies could be to blame for illegal deforestation across 150,000 hectares.
Tropical deforestation accounts for approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, says Greenpeace.
The new Greenpeace report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” tracks beef, leather, and other cattle products from ranches involved in illegal deforestation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The investigation indicates the “laundering” of leather and beef into supply chains of top brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Clarks, Timberland, Geox, Gucci, IKEA, Kraft, and Wal-Mart.
Greenpeace says the report also reveals how the Brazilian government is complicit in bankrolling the destruction, through part ownership of three of the country’s cattle giants, Bertin, JBS and Marfrig, which the environmental group claims is responsible for fueling the destruction of huge tracts of the Amazon.