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Phew, It Was a Jungle Out There!

Posted by feww on June 1, 2009

Images of the Day:


Cattle rest in deforested jungle near Maraba, in Brazil’s central state of Para, May 3, 2009.  Soon thousands of cows will be chewing pasture on the freshly cleared land in Brazil’s Amazon state of Para, just a tiny part of Brazil’s 200-million-strong commercial cattle herd, the world’s biggest, that makes it a beef superpower. More than 70 million are in the Amazon area, three for every person. This is where the industry has grown fastest in recent years, a trend activists say is due to cheap land, widespread illegal clearing and weak government enforcement. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker. Images may be subject to copyright.

Putting Amazon Jungles to Good Use (!)

“The Amazon has lost about a fifth of its forest in the past three decades and the rate of deforestation rose 69 percent in the 12 months to August 2008 as 8,147 sq km (3,145 sq miles) were cut down. It is expected to fall this year, partly due to the global economic crisis, but ecologists say government policies and market forces still drive deforestation.” Reuters said.

“Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter and has the largest commercial cattle herd of 200 million, a third of which is in the Amazon region where loose laws and cheap land have helped its rapid expansion in recent years.

“The government has backed the industry in recent years with billions of dollars in financing and aims to double Brazil’s share of the global beef export market to 61 percent by 2018.

“It has acknowledged that cattle ranching is responsible for about 80 percent of Amazon deforestation.”

Enter Greenpeace

In a report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon” Greenpeace  has accused the Brazilian government of being complicit in the destruction of Amazon jungles by way of providing financial backing for the beef industry, Reuters reported.

The report says  that meat [and hide] that is exported by Brazil’s major meatpackers to Italy, U.S. and U.K., for making shoes, dog chews and  ready-to-eat meals, often comes from ranches with recent illegal deforestation.

Brazil’s  major meatpackers including  JBS, Marfrig and Bertin are accused in the report of  shipping the beef and hides thousands of miles south for additional processing before export.

“In effect, criminal or ‘dirty’ supplies of cattle are laundered through the supply chain to an unwitting global market,” it said. “Expansion by these groups is effectively a ‘joint venture’ with the Brazilian government.”

It’s NO good blaming it all on just Brazil, as Greenpeace has done, it’s the exponential growth economy and globalization that are ultimately responsible for the Amazon deforestation.

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