Killerbean – “a film about the crop that is eating up the Amazon” – looks at industrial soy farming in Brazil and its implications for the environment and indigenous peoples.
It demonstrates how the overconsumption of meat in Europe has led to a huge increase in Brazilian soy production – following the BSE outbreak in 2008, it has become the main source of protein in European cattle feed.
Brazil is now the world’s second-largest producer of soy, but has paid the price for this rapid expansion in environmental and human rights terms, with the industry blamed for massive deforestation, land theft, the use toxic agrochemicals and even slavery.
Featured in the documentary are an indigenous leader who was tortured for trying to protect his village from destruction by soy magnates, and a freed slave exposed to poisons while spraying soy fields with pesticides.
“We are talking about the practices of large landowners – they expel native inhabitants, depopulate, destroy natural resources and create deserts,” says one of the film’s interviewees, journalist Lucio Flavio Pinto.
“The expression ‘agribusiness’ transmits a message saying, ‘We are rational and we are unquestionable because we use scientific data’. It is forgotten today that the Amazon is part of the global market [connected] to the rest of the world through capital.”
Killerbean was produced by the Swedish NGO Latinamerikagrupperna in cooperation with film students from Biskops-Arnö school near Stockholm and the Landless Rural Workers Movement in Brazil (MST), with help from Greenpeace Brazil.
In October a Friends of the Earth report showed how Britain’s meat-eating habits alone were responsible for destroying an area of Amazonian rainforest twice the size of London.