NGO: US Meat Markets Encourage Illegal Deforestation in the Amazon
The U.S. beef industry must be wary of who they import from lest they encourage the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, says a U.K.-based environmental NGO, Earthsight.
banned Brazilian meat due to sanitary concerns. However, now that the gates to U.S. tables are once more open, there may be great environmental threats.From 2017 until 2020, U.S. inspectors had
According to Earthsight, several Brazilian meat producers which have been approved to sell in the U.S. by american inspectors, are located in Amazon states and may be beneficiaries of illegal deforestation.
The illegal deforestation of the Amazon rainforest by organized criminal groups has been a scourge faced by Brazil for decades. Most of the illicit timber is sold internationally but with large tracts of land cleared, illegal loggers are finding another proffit source as well, selling the land for pasture.
Among those meat producers approved for import to the U.S. were operations in Rondônia and Mato Grosso, two of the top three worst states in Brazil for Amazon deforestation.
In Rondônia, over the past decade alone, more than 600 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest have been deforested and according to a study by Mercy for Animals, cattle ranching is the main driver of the crime, having increased 100% over the last year alone.
“While deforestation in Rondônia continues to gather pace, so do its beef exports to the US: they are already up by nearly two thirds this year,” Earthsight said. “Trade data analysed by Earthsight reveal that nearly a sixth of all Brazilian beef imported by U.S. firms now comes from Amazon states. The U.S. is currently Brazil’s second most important beef market, after China.”
While Earthsight is calling on the U.S. dealers to be critical of their meat sources, they also believe self-regulation is not nearly enough to stem the growing environmental disaster. As such they are calling for support for a recent bill brought before U.S. legislators that would require greater state-regulation of imports from the Amazon region.