Meatpackers’ deforestation role scrutinized in Brazil


Cattle graze on deforested land in Brazil. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Brazil’s biggest meat processors, among them JBS, the world’s largest, are drawing scrutiny for allegedly continuing to buy cattle raised in illegally deforested areas of the Amazon despite claiming for years that their supply-chain controls prevent such purchases. Charges that the industry’s buying practices are an ongoing driver of deforestation have come from various quarters—most prominently, state prosecutors in the Amazon state of Rondônia, federal prosecutors in five Amazon states, and two international green groups. The timing is awkward for Brazil’s world-leading beef-export sector, which is now being pressed by the European Union to demonstrate its purchasing practices are not fueling forest destruction. Last year the European Parliament and European Council adopted a regulation prohibiting imports of beef, cocoa, coffee, soy, wood, palm oil, and rubber whose production contributes to deforestation. (See related story—this issue.) Implementation of the controversial measure is slated to begin in... [Log in to read more]

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