Using inflatable boats, 11 activists blocked the ship, W-One, in the North Sea Canal to stop her offloading Amazon soya from the US commodities giant Cargill.
As partof a year long, undercover investigation presented in a new report, Eating up the Amazon (1), Greenpeace traced the global trade in soya from criminal rainforest destruction in the Amazon to fast food outlets, such as McDonald's and KFC, and supermarkets in Europe. It found that Cargill is central to the trade and is leading the criminal invasion of the Amazon. (2)
Greenpeace forests campaign co-ordinator, Gavin Edwards, said: "Cargill is trashing the Amazon so we can eat cheap meat. Every time you buy a Chicken McNugget or KFC chicken burger, you could be taking a bite out of the Amazon."
Cargill has done deals with unscrupulous farms that have illegally grabbed and deforested areas of public and indigenous land. Some have even used slave labour. The company exports the soya direct to Europe from its illegally built port in the Amazon. Over half comes through The Netherlands (3).
A recent report in scientific journal, Nature (4), warned that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening biodiversity and seriously contributing to climate change. Soya monocultures also rely heavily on toxic chemicals, and some also grow genetically engineered soya in the Amazon.
Edwards added: "This crime stretches from Cargill in the heart of the Amazon across the entire European food industry. Supermarkets and fast food giants, like McDonald's and KFC, must make sure their food is free from the links to Amazon destruction, slavery and human rights abuses."
In the UK yesterday, dozens of seven-foot-tall chickens invaded McDonald's restaurants and chained themselves to chairs. Scores of restaurants were also fly-posted overnight with images of Ronald McDonald wielding a chainsaw.
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.
Other contacts: Laura Westendorp, media Officer, Greenpeace Netherlands (m) +31 6-25031013 (at the action site)
Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace International forests campaign co-ordinator (m) +31 652 391429
(1) A copy of the "Eating up the Amazon' is available on: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/eating-up-the-amazon
A shorter crime file, based on the report: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/amazon-soya-crime-file
(2) Cargill, together with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge, controls 60% of soya production in Brazil and more than three-quarters of Europe's soya crushing industry that supplies soya meal and oil to the animal feed market.
(3) In 2005, 787,000 tonnes of soya were exported from Santarem: 52% went to the Netherlands; 31% to the UK; 6.5% to Spain; 6% to France
(4) Nature, 23rd March 2006.
Exp. contact date: 2007-04-07 00:00:00