Consumer demand for cheap meat may be steadily growing, but the hidden impacts of this trend are only now becoming clearer
Why our growing taste for cheap Brazilian beef is devastating the Amazon
5th April, 2011
Brazil’s cattle sector has become the largest driver for deforestation globally, overtaking palm oil plantations in Asia. With the UK sourcing 40 per cent of its processed beef from Brazil, campaigners are now calling for a consumer boycott. Chris Pala investigates
A team of scientists has calculated that eating a kilo of beef raised in pastureland carved out of Brazil’s Amazon forest emits the equivalent of a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to calls for a boycott.
'This is shocking,' says Andre Giacini de Freitas, a Brazilian who is president of the Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s leading green label for forest products. 'We need to shut down markets for products made with unacceptable practices like deforestation.'
'Supermarkets need to stop selling Brazilian beef now,' adds Tara Garnett, director of the Food Climate Research Network at the University of Surrey. The UK imports 40 per cent of its processed beef (tinned, prepared or cooked) from Brazil. Europe accounts for 14 per cent of Brazil’s exports, preceded by the Middle East (27 per cent) and Russia (23 per cent) .
A Marks and Spencer spokesman said the company sells no Brazilian beef. At Sainsbury’s, spokesman Tom Parker said, 'Like all UK retailers, we have no choice but to source our corned beef from South America, as there are no suitable canning facilities in the EU.' But, he added, 'The Brazilian beef that we...
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