Amazon’s destruction driven by meat industry

Tuesday 9th July 2019 | Jake

The world’s appetite for meat is fuelling the continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest on the planet and an ecosystem commonly referred to as the Earth’s lungs. A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Guardian and Repórter Brasil has revealed the scale of destruction.

The report details illegal farming, companies using environmentally protected areas and ignoring embargoes on land. The investigation visited land that had been placed under embargo since 2010, and found clear evidence it was being used for a cattle farm. The farm, called Lagoa do Triunfo, is owned by AgroSB Agropecuária SA, a supplier to the world’s biggest meat packing company, JBS.

Land in the Amazon is embargoed in the first place because of environmental violations, such as illegal deforestation. The embargoes are meant to act as a punishment to farmers and provide protection for forest to recover. The Lagoa do Triunfo farm covers 358,302-acres, and is one of several farms owned by AgroSB in the Amazon. Vast swathes of land on the farm have been embargoed in recent years, and AgroSB have been fined more than £14m for deforestation on the farm’s land between 2010 and 2013.

Nonetheless, hunger for profit and a prevailing demand for meat has led companies to ignore embargoes and intensify deforestation. Environmental damage is now being made easier, as president Jair Bolsonaro has set about removing environmental protection laws.

It is now believed up to 5,800 sq km of Amazon forest is felled annually to make way for cattle farming pasture. Deforestation in the forest has increased since 2012, with about 7,900 sq km of forest destroyed between August 2017 and July 2018.