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European Supermarkets Plan to Stop Buying Meat that Destroys the Amazon

European supermarkets are starting to reject meat connected, even indirectly, to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

After years of reports, a new document called “Cattle Eating Up the World’s Largest Rainforest” has driven some groups to review their policies: among them, Sainsbury's, the second largest British chain, Carrefour and Delhaize in Belgium, Lidl the Netherlands, Auchan in France. In particular, they are all concerned about canned and dried meat.

In fact, Lidl Netherlands has committed to stop selling any type of beef coming from South America starting from 2022. Albert Heijn, part of one of the largest Dutch supermarket chains, has announced that it will stop all supplies from Brazil.

While Sainsbury's declared that it played an active role in making clear demands to the beef industry in Brazil and engaged with producers to achieve greater supply chain transparency, Carrefour said it will increase oversight in all the countries where it operates.

The resolution was triggered by an investigation conducted by Reporter Brasil and the Washington-based NGO Mighty Earth. The report claims that JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world, indirectly purchased cattle from illegally deforested areas. In particular, cattle raised on an illegally deforested land are sold to a legitimate farm, which sells them to the processing industry. The last step is necessary to try to hide the origin of the cattle.

In recent years, with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the green lung of the planet, has increased.

According to data released in November 2021 by the National Institute for Space Research, between August 2020 and July 2021, more than 13,200 square kilometers of rainforest were razed to the ground (+22% compared to the previous year), marking the highest rate since 2006. The international non-profit organization Animal Equality also looked into the connection between the meat industry and deforestation, releasing an investigation called "Why is Brazil burning?".

From the investigation, carried out to investigate the fires that occurred in the forests of the Pantanal and in the savannah of the Cerrado (Mato Grosso), emerged that farmers illegally set fires to obtain land to be used for the breeding of beef cattle and for plantations of soy, finding numerous violations and denouncing the impact these devastating fires have on the environment, wildlife and farmed animals.

Animal Equality has also launched a petition to regulate and implement the meat industry system.


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