Friday, May 19, 2006
KENTUCKY FRIED AMAZON
Greenpeace has today blockaded a Cargill grain terminal in Brazil while calling on consumers to put pressure on a major U.S. based fast food chain to stop actions which it says is helping to destroy the Amazon Rain Forest.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is fuelling the destruction of the Amazon by selling cheap chicken fed on soya grown on deforested land.
The Domincan Today says recent Greenpeace investigations have traced the chain of rainforest destruction directly from the heart of the Amazon, via Cargill's facility, to KFC's European restaurants, which sell bucket-loads of cheap soya-fed chicken to millions of people every day.
The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at an alarming rate and is in urgent need of protection. Since January 2003, nearly 70,000 km2 has been destroyed, equivalent to an area of rainforest the size of 6 football fields every minute. Soya, which is mainly grown to feed animals, is a leading cause of this destruction.
A report last month in Nature magazine revealed that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening bio-diversity and massively contributing to climate change.
The first article below is from Anencia Brasil. The second is from Greepeace UK.
Greenpeace activists blockade port
Manaus - Since 8:30 this morning (19), the ship Arctic Sunrise, belonging to the non-governmental organization for environmental protection, Greenpeace, has been blockading a grain terminal built by the US multinational corporation, Cargill, in the northern Brazilian river port of Santarém. The activists are protesting the advance of soybean cultivation in the Amazon region and the construction of the terminal without environmental impact studies.
They are surrounded by soybean producers who are threatening to invade the ship. So far the military police have succeeding in averting confrontations.
"We have already received notification from the port authority saying that we have to leave, that we are violating Brazilian laws," says the coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon Campaign, Paulo Adário. "We acknowledge the fact that the police must do its job, but we are doing ours. What must get out of here is this port, which is illegal."
Adário said that the protest began when activists climbed a soybean unloading bridge and extended a banner saying "Out with Cargill."
Campaigners and soya farmers clash as Cargill's illegal depot is blockaded
To stop the export of soya from deforested areas of the Amazon, Greenpeace have this weekend blocked the operations of US multi-national Cargill, one of the leading culprits in the invasion of soya into the Amazon. On Friday, operations were stopped at Cargill's illegally built export facility in Santarém with our ship the MV Arctic Sunrise seized by Brazilian police after rampaging soya farmers boarded the ship and attempted to get at the crew. Three activists were injured on the day.
The Amazon rainforest is being torn down to make way for soya plantations which provide animal feed for chickens and cattle that end up on the shelves and menus in European markets. We've been campaigning to get McDonald's and KFC to stop using meat fed on Amazon soya but they only represent one end of the chain.
Cargill is the company that links the soya fields of the Amazon and the fast food restaurants over here, shipping out enormous quantities of soya to provide high-protein diets for Europe's livestock.
The largest privately owned company in the world, Cargill are leading the soya invasion. They not only ship the stuff over, they are building the infrastructure needed to transport thousands upon thousands of tonnes of beans through the Amazon basin and into the ports. They have an estimated 13 silos in the Amazon, as well as their illegally built port facility in Santarém.
Cargill have tried to deny that a problem exists, claiming our report Eating Up the Amazon was based on "oversimplification and distortion". But that just won't wash and they have failed to challenge the key findings of the report, namely that the Amazon soya industry is knee-deep in environmental destruction, slavery and land-grabbing and, as the biggest player in town, Cargill is implicated in all of these.
220,000 tonnes of soya was exported to the UK in the last year from one Amazon port alone
And they clearly don't like what we're saying. Over the past two weeks, Greenpeace campaigners in and around Santarém have met with intimidation, threats and violence from soya farmers - even local journalists were attacked simply for being there. During the blockade of Cargill's dodgy port facility, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was rammed repeatedly by a tug while Cargill employees tried to cut the anchor.
Despite their grip on the Amazon, Cargill can be persuaded to stop driving the deforestation. If their clients, such as McDonald's and KFC, demand that they adopt sound environmental and socially responsible principles, they will no choice but to meet our demands. Cargill themselves have admitted to customers that using only non-Amazon (and non-GM) soya can be done.
But who do the fast food chains listen to? Their customers, that's who. So use your consumer power to tell them that if they don't stop buying their meat from companies who care a hill of beans for the Amazon rainforest, then you'll stop buying their food.