In Brazil, one of the main drivers of deforestation is for pasture for beef. It is therefore completely foolish for those in developed countries to eat Brazilian beef – if we do, we are paying them to do the world (and therefore us) incalculable harm.
Importantly, these people can wait. If we have a moratorium on grazing on newly deforested land, the land owner can wait a few years or a decade then its value jumps. This move was taken after it became clear that “cattle laundering” was going on.
Cattle laundering consists of mixing in cattle grazed on deforested land, with cattle grazed legally. That way we cannot boycott the bad one. JBS the big conglomerate is said to have been engaging in this practice, according to Reporter Brasil.
Until we can be sure that this is not happening, we should avoid all beef from Brazil, otherwise we are giving profit to a company that is financially incentivising deforestation.
In the UK Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride are British subsidies of JBS. As such they should be avoided. Pressure has been put on Tescos to cease its damaging support of this company but so far they have refused to change their ways. Unfortunately, while many of the other supermarkets strive to buy much of their meat from the UK, every supermarket apart from Sainsburys do not seem to prioritize location and deforestation when choosing where to buy their meat. Pretty much all the supermarkets have some sort of buy British scheme, but the question is where their cheap meat comes from.
This is urgent. Brazil has just stated that they intend to deforest much more land for beef production. If the world stops buying Brazils beef we can save the rainforest. Under Jair Bolsonaro the Brazilian relationship with most of the rest of the world had be greatly degraded.
Thankfully, all his corruption and behaviour that originally gained him support has hit reality. Bolsonaro has been dismissive of Covid,
“In my understanding, the destructive power of this virus is overestimated. Maybe it’s even being promoted for economic reasons.”
“The economy was doing well but this virus brought a certain hysteria. There are governors that, as I understand it, and I might be wrong, are making decisions that could greatly harm our economy.”
“It seems this virus question is already going away.”
“So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do? I’m Messiah (Bolsonaro’s second name) but I can’t do miracles.”
“I’m sorry for the dead, I’m sorry. We’re all going to die one day, everyone here will die. There’s no point running away from it, running away from reality. You need to stop being a country of queers.”
Brazil has suffered 22.2 million cases and 617,000 deaths, which as a percentage of population is a higher death rate than the USA. Hopefully his mishandling of COVID is finally enough to mean he looses re-election (of course there is a big question as to whether his rival would behave better, but that is another question).
Certainly in the short term, Brazil is going to be producing large amounts of beef. We in the west need to bend over backwards to make sure that we are not buying this meat.