Knowledge for better food systems

Cattle and deforestation in Amazon

On 13 August 2009, Greenpeace issued a press release saying that one of the largest leather suppliers in the world, and the second-largest beef exporter in Brazil has backed a call made by Greenpeace for a moratorium on the purchase of cattle from farms involved in new deforestation in the Amazon with immediate effect.
On 13 August 2009, Greenpeace issued a press release saying that one of the largest leather suppliers in the world, and the second-largest beef exporter in Brazil has backed a call made by Greenpeace for a moratorium on the purchase of cattle from farms involved in new deforestation in the Amazon with immediate effect. The announcement follows tough new policy statements from shoe retailers such as Clarks, Nike, Timberland, Geox and Adidas, in response to a Greenpeace report entitled Slaughtering the Amazon, released in June 2009. Nearly 80 percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon results from cattle ranching, according to a new report by Greenpeace. More than 38,600 square miles has been cleared for pasture since 1996, bringing the total area occupied by cattle ranches in the Brazilian Amazon to 214,000 square miles, an area larger than France. The legal Amazon, an region consisting of rainforests and a biologically-rich grassland known as cerrado, is now home to more than 80 million head of cattle. For comparison, the entire U.S. herd was 96 million in 2008. The report says that Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer are among dozens of high-profile companies that profit from products supplied by Brazilian farms on illegally deforested land. Much of the trade is in processed beef, used for pies, canned meat and frozen ready meals. The supermarkets insist that this meat does not come from the Amazon. Greenpeace also names Nike, Adidas, Timberland and Clarks Shoes among companies it says use leather linked to Amazon destruction. The report says that the cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation, making it the world’s largest driver of deforestation. The report traced leather, beef and other cattle products from ranches involved in the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest back to the supply chains of top brands. Bertin now joins Marfrig, the fourth largest producer of beef and beef products in the world, which adopted a similar commitment in July 2009. An executive summary of "Slaughtering the Amazon" is attached below. For coverage in the Guardian see here. More information from Greenpeace on this subject may be read here.
 

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