A team of climbers from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise shut down Cargill's illegal soya export facility in the heart of the Amazon rainforest today. The soya, which is exported to Europe as animal feed, is grown in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest.
Greenpeace activists display a banner reading 'Cargill out' in a protest against Cargill's illegal soya port in the Amazon rainforest. Soya expansion is one of the leading causes of deforestation in the Amazon. The soya is exported to Europe for animal feed.
Climbers are trying tooccupy the roof and conveyor belts of Cargill’s facility where they havedisplayed a banner reading ‘Fora Cargill’ – ‘Cargill get out’. Other volunteersare also trying to prevent soya being unloaded from barges into the facility. Meanwhile,the Arctic Sunrise is attempting to occupy the dock of the facility, preventingbarges of soy from arriving and unloading, but is being rammed by a Cargillvessel. Cargill workers on the dock are reacting violently, and one activisthas been thrown in the river. Eight people have been arrested so far.
Greenpeace Amazon Forest Campaign Coordinator, Paulo Adario, said: ”Americancorporations like Cargill are eating up the Amazon to grow soya. Meat fed onthis soya ends up on supermarket shelves and fast food counters, like Tesco andKentucky Fried Chicken, across Europe. Our volunteers will stay here as long aspossible to prevent soya from the world’s most precious rainforest beingexported to Europe to feed chickens, pigs and cows.”
Recent Greenpeace investigations documented in ‘Eating up the Amazon’ (1),shows that the Cargill export facility is not only illegal (2) but is alsolaundering soya from illegal deforestation to the world market (3). It operates13 silos in the Amazon rainforest – more than any other company.
Soya is now a leading cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon.In total, an estimated 1.2 million hectares of what used to be rainforest havealready - mostly illegally - been destroyed to grow soybeans. Cargill makes nosecret of helping establish soya farms in the Amazon, some of whom arecomplicit in other illegal activities such as land grabbing and slavery (4).
”US corporations like Cargill must stop seeing the Amazon as a place to expandtheir soya businesses, and instead see it as the world’s greatest rainforestthat’s in need of urgent protection,” said Greenpeace International forestcampaign coordinator, Gavin Edwards.
In recent weeks, Greenpeace has taken action in Europe against soya importsfrom Cargill’s Amazon port, including preventing soya ships unloading inAmsterdam. Cargill responded to allegations yesterday claiming that it had an‘environmentally friendly’ approach to encouraging soya plantations in theAmazon. But it has made no commitment to curb ongoing deforestation, and willnot actually ensure protection of the Amazon.
Greenpeace is calling on Cargill and the European food industry to ensure thatthe soya and animal feed they buy and use does not contribute to thedestruction of the Amazon and that none of their soya products are geneticallyengineered.
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation that uses non-violent,creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to forcesolutions essential to a green and peaceful future.
Other contacts: Natalia Truchi, Greenpeace International media officer in the Amazon +31 646 184250 or +55 929 995 2070 Paulo Adario, Amazon Campaign Coordinator +55 92 8115 8928 (in the Amazon) Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace International forests campaign co-ordinator (e) +31 652 391429 (in the Amazon)
Notes: (1) A copy of the "Eating up the Amazon' which documents the problems of Soya in the Amazon is available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/eating-up-the-amazon A shorter crime file about Cargill at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/cargill-amazon (2) In February 2006, Brazil's second highest court ruled against Cargill, stipulating that the company must comply with Brazilian law and complete an Environmental Impact Assessment not only for the port terminal but also for impacts on the surrounding region. (3) In one of numerous case studies within the report, soya supplied to the terminal is traced back to the Lavras farm, which sits on illegally grabbed land, some of which was cleared of rainforest to grow soya. Greenpeace has a copy of the contract between Cargill and the farm's owners, the Cortezia brothers. (4) Cargill is the largest private firm in the USA, with revenues of nearly US$63 billion in 2003. It is the undisputed ruler in the global grain trade and food system, buying, trading, transporting, blending milling, crushing, refining, and distributing around the globe.