More than 800m Amazon trees felled in six years to meet beef demand - The Guardian

A data-driven investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), the Guardian, Repórter Brasil and Forbidden Stories shows systematic and vast forest loss linked to cattle farming.

The beef industry in Brazil has consistently pledged to avoid farms linked to deforestation. However, the data suggests that 1.7m hectares (4.2m acres) of the Amazon was destroyed near meat plants exporting beef around the world.

Deforestation across Brazil soared between 2019 and 2022 under the then president, Jair Bolsonaro, with cattle ranching being the number one cause. The new administration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has promised to curb the destruction.

Researchers at the AidEnvironment consultancy used satellite imagery, livestock movement records and other data to calculate estimated forest loss over six years, between 2017 and 2022 on thousands of ranches near more than 20 slaughterhouses. All the meat plants were owned by Brazil’s big three beef operators and exporters – JBS, Marfrig and Minerv​a.

All three companies say they operate strict compliance procedures, in an open and honest manner, to ensure they are meeting their sustainable goals.

Nestlé and the German meat company Tönnies, which had supplied Lidl and Aldi, were among those to have apparently bought meat from the plants featured in the study. Dozens of wholesale buyers in various EU countries, some of which supply the catering businesses that serve schools and hospitals, also appeared in the list of buyers.

Alex Wijeratna, a senior director at the Mighty Earth advocacy organisation, said: “The Amazon is very close to a tipping point. So these types of figures are very alarming because the Amazon can’t afford to be losing this number of trees … this has planetary implications.”

Read the full story here

The Guardian

Locations: Brazil Amazon Rainforest 

Organizations: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) AidEnvironment JBS Marfrig Minerv​a Nestlé Tönnies Lidl Aldi Mighty Earth 

People: Jair Bolsonaro Lula da Silva Alex Wijeratna 

Tags: Environmentalism Climate Change Deforestation 

Type: Headlines