Brazil, what is the connection between meat, deforestation and the climate crisis

Animal Equality documented the systematic violation of the rules by three slaughterhouses in Brazil, from which Italy imports tons of meat.

  • A new Animal Equality investigation conducted undercover in three Brazilian slaughterhouses shows the systematic violation of animal health and welfare regulations within the country.
  • Much of the land’s deforestation is connected to the meat industry in Brazil.
  • Stopping subsidies and imports from producers who are unable to ensure respect for animals and the environment may be the first step towards a fairer food system.

The government of Jair Bolsonaro has never backed down from the possibility of favoring the industry farms and gods slaughterhouses industrialists, and this time too was no exception. A new Animal Equality investigation conducted undercover in three certified slaughterhouses at the municipal and state level shows the systematic violation of animal health and welfare regulations in Brazil.

To date, 70% of the meat for the production of IGP bresaola uses raw material from South America © Animal Equality

The images collected in Brazil by the Animal Equality investigative team

The undercover investigation has unveiled animals treated with extreme violence before and during the time of slaughter, in violation of federal health and hygiene regulations and respect for animal welfare during the killing phase. Furthermore, in the absence of adequate stunning, the start of the skinning process and the cutting of the legs of the animals take place without confirmation of their death. These practices are extremely painful and occur with recurrence in slaughterhouses due to the insufficient number of checksdespite the structures investigated are certified.

An important lobbying job

To all this is added the context in which intensive farming is carried out in Brazil: the deforestation and the abuse of animals, the environment and local communities. But even in the face of these evidences, a new bill presented in July 2021 and voted by the Brazilian Congress aims to increase the meat exports without investing more resources in controls in slaughterhouses and farms.

One year later, the bill still has to be voted on by the Senate and Animal Equality and other animal protection organizations, through their lobbying work, have managed to get the postponement of the vote on the bill and a new one. public hearing to make the voice of the Brazilian civil societyincreasingly damaged by Bolsonaro’s anti-environment and animal policies.

deforestation brazil
According to Etifor’s calculations, Italy has induced on average a deforestation associated with the consumption of meat between 5,900 and 11,153 hectares per year © Animal Equality

Intensive farming and deforestation in the Amazon

Much of the land’s deforestation is connected to the meat industry in Brazil. According to one Search for MapBiomasin Brazil (the world’s largest exporter of beef) intensive farming and industrial slaughterhouses are responsible for more than 80 percent of deforestation and an estimated 98 percent of fires was set on by cattle ranchers to clear forests. 99.8 percent of deforestation in 2019 showed signs of illegal activity.

At the same time, it is estimated that 50 per cent of the Cerrado, 20 per cent of the Amazon and 17 per cent of the Pantanal (i.e. the main biomes of Brazil) have already been deforested in recent decades. Wwf data). To guide this process, as also reported Greenpeaceis the production of meat in the Amazon and that of soy in the Cerradowhich accounts for 90 percent of the total deforestation of these precious areas.

In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely responsible for global warming, recorded the largest annual increase in Brazil since 2003: the country has released into the atmosphere an amount of gas equivalent to the annual emissions of all 1.4 billion cars circulating on the planet.

The appeal to the Brazilian government

To combat exploitation and extreme violence against animals raised for food in Brazil and protect the ecosystem, Animal Equality calls for a review of the EU-Mercosur free trade agreements through a international appeal addressed to the Brazilian government, national governments and its trading partners. The request is to make the agreements that regulate relations between the European Union and Brazil increasingly binding and stringent, hence Italy imports between 25 thousand and 30 thousand tonsquantities that make it the leading European importer of Brazilian fresh and frozen beef.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) e Eurogroup for Animals (Brussels-based pressure group of which Animal Equality is a part), the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement has a negative impact on animals and the environment, but these effects can be mitigated by improving the animal welfare. In particular, the concern expressed by experts in the fields of the environment and animal protection, by representatives of civil society organizations and the European Parliament, is that the unconditional tariff reduction for animal products that the EU free trade agreement Mercosur would apply may cause the increase in animal intensive agriculture, further increasing hunger in the Mercosur countries.

Stop all subsidies and the imports by producers who are unable to demonstrate that they source their supplies from animal abuse-free farms and slaughterhouses linked to environmental destruction, by verifying the origin of the animals raised and the conditions in which these animals were raised, it can then be the first step towards a fairer food system and respectful of sentient beings and the Planet.

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Brazil, what is the connection between meat, deforestation and the climate crisis