June 3, 2009

Cattle Industry Destroying Rain Forest

Greenpeace said on Wednesday, in a report that called for trade and financial retaliation against illegal ranchers, that the cattle industry is the biggest driver of destruction of the Amazonian rain forest.

The campaign group said clearance of the Amazon had helped give Brazil the world's largest cattle sector and made it the world's largest exporter of beef.

However, it said in its report timed - to coincide with UN talks on climate change - that this growth has come at a tragic cost for biodiversity and global warming.

According to AFP, the group claims that 2.5 acres of Amazon rainforest is being lost to cattle ranchers every 18 seconds.

Additionally, it alleged that more than one-seventh of the world's annual deforestation is brought on by the cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon, making it a huge contributor to the greenhouse effect.

The Brazilian government has pledged to protect the Amazon, yet at the same time promotes the livestock industry through state-owned corporations and a credit line of 41 billion dollars.

Activists like Greenpeace say the government turns a blind eye to land grabbing.

The report added that there was also a complex corporate web, involving blue-chip companies that, apparently unknowingly, buy significant amounts of beef and leather products from ranches involved in illegal deforestation.

It stated: "In effect, criminal or 'dirty' supplies of cattle are laundered through the supply chain to an unwitting global market."

Greenpeace produced a long list of reputable global brands and retailers that had an "Amazon-contaminated supply chain," including Adidas, BMW, Carrefour, Ford, Honda, Gucci, IKEA, Kraft, Tesco, Toyota and Wal-Mart.

The report further stated that such global brands are "silent partners to crime" and that their "blind consumption of raw materials fuels deforestation and climate change."

The ultimate goal is to end trade and financial ties with ranchers or companies involved in the destruction of the Amazon, Greenpeace said.

It said: "World governments, multilateral funding agencies such as the World Bank and global corporations all have a role to play."


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