Eating the Amazon

UK meat eaters are financing Amazon deforestation, says Greenpeace

Most of the soya sent to the UK is not forest-free certified and is used to feed farm animals

UK meat eaters are contributing to deforestation of the Amazon

Image credit: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace

British consumers are helping fuel deforestation and fires in the Amazon by consuming meat from animals fed on soya beans linked to forest fires.

Greenpeace said £240m worth of soya  was shipped to the UK in 2018, and they are coming from producers that contributed to the fires. Most of the soya is used to feed farm animals. Only 14% of the total 761,739 tonnes of soya imported from Brazil is certified “deforestation free”, the BBC reports.

Greenpeace is calling for a boycott on soya products from Brazil until the situation improves. “All of the big fast-food companies use soya in animal feed, none of them know where it comes from and soya is one of the biggest drivers of deforestation worldwide,” said Richard George, Greenpeace head of forests.

2019 has seen a huge increase in Amazon fires, with massive loss of wildlife. Many people blame the new extreme right-wing president for signalling to land-grabbers, cattle-ranchers and miners that there will no punishment for their criminal activities.

Soya is one of the main crops driving deforestation, but 80 percent of it is used as animal feed. Soya used in vegan foods, such as plant milk, tofu and fake meat tends to come from smaller companies with a more traceable supply chain.

“The use of Amazonian soya in vegan food manufacturing is fairly insignificant, given that most brands source from Europe, and up to 91% of deforestation in the rainforest comes directly from animal agriculture. Farmed animals eat far more soya than we would if we ate it directly, therefore wasting resources and harming the environment,” the UK Vegan Society told the BBC.


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