Home   News

Over 800 Million Trees Felled To Feed Appetite for Brazilian Beef

Over 800 Million Trees Felled To Feed Appetite for Brazilian Beef

By Elisângela Mendonça

More than 800 million trees have been cut down in the Amazon rainforest in just six years to feed the world’s appetite for Brazilian beef, despite dire warnings about the forest’s importance in fighting the climate crisis.

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

The beef industry in Brazil has previously pledged to avoid farms linked to deforestation. However, the new data reveals that 17,000 sq km of the Amazon was destroyed near meat plants exporting beef around the world.

The investigation is part of Forbidden Stories’ Bruno and Dom Project. It continues the work of Bruno Pereira, an Indigenous peoples expert, and Dom Phillips, a Guardian journalist, who were murdered in the Amazon last year.

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

Researchers at the consultancy AidEnvironment used satellite imagery, livestock movement records and other data to calculate forest loss 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 exporters — JBS, Marfrig and Minerva.

To find the farms that most likely supplied each slaughterhouse, the researchers looked at “buying zones”; these are areas based on transport connections and other factors, and, where possible, confirmed by interviews with plant representatives. All the meat plants exported internationally, including to the EU, the UK and China, the world’s biggest buyer of Brazilian beef.

The research focused on slaughterhouses in the states of Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia — important frontiers of deforestation associated with ranching. It’s likely that the overall figure for deforestation on farms supplying JBS, Marfrig and Minerva is higher, because they run other plants elsewhere in the Amazon.

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

Click here to see more...

Trending Video

Sheep Farming Vlog: Suffolk Breeding Groups

Video: Sheep Farming Vlog: Suffolk Breeding Groups

Today at Ewetopia Farms, we finally set up our final Suffolk breeding groups of the year. It took us a while to choose which rams we were going to use this year. We show you who we finally decided on and explain why we chose each particular ram. I hope you enjoy this video. If you would like to follow along with us and experience life on a real working sheep farm on a daily basis, please subscribe so that you don't miss a single episode!