Meat imports to Britain last year caused the loss of Brazilian rainforest and grassland equivalent to twice the size of Greater London, according to the report from Friends of the Earth.
From Forest to Fork: the UK’s contribution to deforestation in Brazil reveals that imports into Britain of Brazilian beef and soy to feed our own factory-farmed animals resulted in the deforestation of 1,220 square miles of land in 2009.
The report was launched last week in advance of a meeting of the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, held 18-29 October.
“Even as world leaders are meeting to discuss how to stop deforestation, the UK government is propping up damaging factory farms with millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash, leaving the public unwittingly caught in a food system that’s destroying Brazilian wildlife and rainforest,” said FoE’s senior food campaigner Vicki Hird.
According to the organisation, factory farms are effectively subsidised by UK taxpayers at a cost of £700 million a year.
As well as deforestation in order to rear cattle and grow feed crops, From Forest to Fork reveals the growing pressure that the Brazilian environment and people are under to meet growing demands for beef, soy and sugarcane.
Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to introduce a Sustainable Livestock Bill to reduce the impact of UK consumption of meat and dairy products on other countries.
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