Jaguars roar into action

Stopping the bulldozers of industrial agriculture

Feature story - 29 August, 2005
In Argentina precious forest is being bulldozed at a rate of a soccer pitch area every three minutes - all for soya crops to feed pigs and chickens in Europe and China. We are out to stop this destruction with the Greenpeace Jaguar team.

Greenpeace "jaguars" prowl the forests of Argentina to stop destruction and the expansion of genetically engineered soya.

Across South America the bulldozers of industrial agriculture, draggingmammoth chains, are destroying huge swathes of diverse ancient forests.Indigenous peoples, and rare species like jaguars, are being swept asideto make space for huge, chemical intensive soya monocultures, oftenplanted with genetically engineered soya.

Raising demand for soya for animal feed is fuelling the destructionthat is encouraged by governments in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, inpartnership with huge agricultural corporations like Monsanto.

Left unopposed, this means that many huge forests will disappear in the next few years.We are taking action to stop this destruction and make a stand for theindigenous people and rare species of the forest. Last years theGreenpeace jaguars first appeared on the scene to block the bulldozersand rally thousands of people to pressure the Argentinian government tohalt the destruction. Because the government failed to act against thedestruction the jaguar team are back this year, now with a helicopterto spot the bulldozers in the difficult terrain.

"Companies are failing to act responsibly, and the ArgentinianGovernment stands by while rampant deforestation continues," saidEmiliano Ezcurra, Greenpeace Argentina forests campaigner. "We're hereto place ourselves between bulldozers and trees to stop the destructionof these last remaining ancient forests". 

Road to ruin

The social consequences are just as devastating; government supportedGE Soya landlords forcibly evict small farmers and indigenouscommunities from their land. All the trees knocked down by bulldozersare discarded onto huge piles, often kilometres long, and set alight.The cleared land can only support the GE soya monoculture for a fewyears before the soil nutrients disappear. The options then are to usemore chemical fertilizers or just leave the land to become a desert andmove on to clear more forest. This cycle contributes to climate change,biodiversity loss and human rights violations.

The money earned by these countries from soya exports won't last forlong. But the priceless forest ecosystem and the unique indigenouspeople will be gone forever.

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