Beef Companies Ban Amazon Cattle

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Beef Companies Ban Amazon Cattle

By Alexei Barrionuevo on Sidney Morning Herald

At a conference organized by Greenpeace, the cattle companies - Bertin, JBS-Friboi, Marfrig and Minerva - agreed to support Greenpeace's call for an end to the deforestation.

Environmental groups hailed a decision this week by four of the world's largest meat producers to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested areas of Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

At a conference organized by Greenpeace, the cattle companies - Bertin, JBS-Friboi, Marfrig and Minerva - agreed to support Greenpeace's call for an end to the deforestation.

Brazil has the world's largest cattle herd and is the world's largest beef exporter but it is also the fourth-largest producer of greenhouse gas. Destruction of tropical forests is estimated to account for about 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace contends the cattle industry in the Amazon is the biggest driver of global deforestation. But the Brazilian Government, while pushing ambitious goals to slow deforestation in the Amazon, is also a major financier and shareholder in global beef and leather processors - which profit from cattle raised in areas of the Amazon that have been destroyed, often illegally, Greenpeace says.

The companies agreed to monitor their supply chains and set clear targets for farms that supply cattle. The Government was conspicuously absent from Monday's announcement.

The agreement was reached after Greenpeace released its Slaughtering the Amazon report in June, detailing the link between forest destruction and the expansion of cattle farms.

The report led some multinationals, among them Adidas, Nike and Timberland, to pledge to cancel contracts unless they received guarantees their products were not associated with cattle or slave labor in the Amazon. McDonald's and Wal-Mart also pressed producers to change their practices in the Amazon.

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