Another amazing success in our Amazon cattle campaign

Posted by christian — 5 October 2009 at 5:32pm - Comments

Cattle ranched on deforested areas of the Amazon. There's going to be less of this, thanks to you

In what our executive director is calling "a significant victory in the fight to save the Amazon," four of the largest cattle companies in the world are joining forces to ban the purchase of cattle from areas of cleared rainforest in Brazil.

This success is the culmination of our Slaughtering The Amazon campaign, which began back in June. The report which launched the campaign showed that cattle ranching is the single biggest driver of deforestation in the Amazon, and that four-fifths of the areas that have been deforested now have cattle on them.

Between then, the cattle companies Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva dominate the world's export markets for beef, and supply lots of companies that sell their goods in the UK - including shoe manufacturers like Nike, Adidas and Clarks, and purveyors of all things corned beef, like Princes. 

It was by pressuring and working with these shoe and food companies that we got the big cattle companies round the table. The tens of thousands of our supporters who wrote, phoned, demonstrated and donated to us as part of this work have made this happen - by bringing people power to the table we've managed to shift the way Brazil does business.

The companies are committing to "zero deforestation in their supply chains", which is a really tangible and permanent commitment to take. This adds to the measures that we've been successful in bringing in to protect the Amazon - there's also an industry-wide moratorium on soya produced on deforested areas in place from our previous campaigning work. (You can find out more about that in a new Google Earth tour of the Amazon.)

The effect of having four of the largest players in the global cattle sector committing to wipe out Amazon deforestation in their supply chain is massive. It fundamentally changes the economic dynamics of the cattle ranching sector. Up until now, the cheap Amazon land and the promise of extra profit from selling timber was encouraging ranchers to expand into the rainforest. Now there's an incentive for farmers to use their land in smarter ways and buy up land that's not in the forest.

So if you helped us, give yourselves a pat on the back. This is a really, really, really big victory. People in our Brazilian office in particular are over the moon. By halting deforestation we are doing the best we can to protect the Amazon as a vital resource for the future - for the plants, animals and people who make it their home, and for the wider world as a vital resource in regulating the climate and protecting us all.

About Christian Hunt


Sea ice geek, former web editor at GP.

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