Greenpeace blocks soya transport to save Amazon

Environmental activists in inflatable boats stopped a ship carrying Amazonian soya from docking in Amsterdam on Friday morning, to protest the destruction of rainforest they say was cleared to grow it.

The soya was being transported by US commodities giant Cargill, which Greenpeace accuses of sourcing produce from illegally deforested land in the Amazon, contributing to climate change and threatening biodiversity. The organisation outlines the charges in its new report Eating up the Amazon.

The cargo was bound for European supermarkets, fast food chains, and for use as animal feed. Campaigners chose to target Cargill because of its important share in Brazilian soya production: together with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge, the company controls 60% of soya production in Brazil.

Despite Brazilian laws that aim to curb deforestation the Amazonian rainforest is being lost fast, with an area the size of Belgium cleared in one year (2003 – 2004), three-quarters of it illegally. According to a recent report in the journal Nature, 40% of rainforest area will disappear by 2050 if current trends continue.

Soya production is contributing to the deforestation, with 1.2 million hectares of soya planted on land previously covered in rainforest.

Greenpeace forests campaign co-ordinator, Gavin Edwards, said: “Cargill is trashing the Amazon so we can eat cheap meat. Every time you buy a Chicken McNugget or KFC chicken burger, you could be taking a bite out of the Amazon.”

Edwards added: “This crime stretches from Cargill in the heart of the Amazon across the entire European food industry. Supermarkets and fast food giants, like McDonald’s and KFC, must make sure their food is free from the links to Amazon destruction, slavery and human rights abuses.”

The Eating up the Amazon report can be accessed on the Greenpeace website.

Goska Romanowicz

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