Greenpeace slams US commodities giant for Amazon crimes

Cargill's European facilities closed down to stop Amazon soya trade

Press release - 22 May, 2006
To mark the UN's International Day for Biological Diversity today, Greenpeace activists continued their global actions against the world's largest privately-owned company, US commodities giant, Cargill, for destroying the Amazon rainforest to grow soya to feed Europe's farm animals.

Greenpeace activists dump nearly four tonnes of soya at the entrance of Cargillís European Headquarters where the company's managers organise the shipping of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Amazon soya to Europe. Soya expansion is one of the leading causes of deforestation in the Amazon.

This morning, 18 activists in Orléans, France, closed down aCargill-owned Sun Valley factory. Many of the million chickens whichSun Valley supplies to supermarkets and fast food restaurants acrossEurope every week are fed on Amazon soya. In Surrey, UK, Greenpeacedumped nearly four tonnes of soya at the entrance of Cargill's EuropeanHeadquarters where Cargill managers organise the shipping of hundredsof thousands of tonnes of Amazon soya to Europe. Severalactivists  chained themselves to a gate to prevent the company's300 employees gaining access to the site.

Greenpeace Amazon campaign co-ordinator, Thomas Henningsen, said: "Mostpeople have never even heard of this company, but its playing a part inone of the great environmental tragedies of our time. The Amazon is oneof the most bio-diverse areas on Earth and we need it to stabilise theplanet's climate, but this company is trashing the rainforest to growsoya to feed Europe's farm animals. We'll stay here until Cargillagrees to a moratorium to stop destroying the Amazon rainforest. Untilit does, companies like KFC, Tesco and Albert Heijn should avoid buyingCargill's Amazon-fed products."

Today's protests followed a series of tense protests in the over theweekend in the Brazilian city of Santarem, in the heart of the Amazonrainforest, where Cargill has illegally contructed a soya exportfacility. On Friday, a team of climbers from the Greenpeace ship,Arctic Sunrise, shut down the facility. Cargill workers acted violentlyduring the protest, ramming a Greenpeace inflatable boat and the ArcticSunrise with their powerful tugboat. Three activists were injured, withone sustaining a broken finger and another suffering burns after havinga firework launched at him.  On Sunday, over a thousand peoplefrom Santarem joined Greenpeace and other non-governmentalorganisations reacted by taking to the streets of Santarem in protestagainst Cargilll's destruction of the Amazon.

Recent Greenpeace investigations (1) discovered that Cargill's crimesstretch from their illegal operations in the Amazon across the entireEuropean food industry. Many of biggest poultry companies in Europe,including Cargill-owned Sun Valley Foods which supplies some of themost prominent European supermarkets and fast food restaurants, areusing Cargill soya imported direct from the Amazon rainforest. Soyafarmers supplying Cargill are linked to the use of slave labour,illegal land grabbing and massive deforestation.

Cargill is a US-based international food and agricultural commoditygiant and is leading the soya invasion of the Amazon (2). 1.2 millionhectares of what used to be rainforest have already - mostly illegally- been destroyed to grow soybeans. Forest clearance by burning isendangering the world's climate and destroying the habitat ofindigenous peoples, as well as plants and animals in the mostbiologically important rainforest on earth.

Greenpeace is calling on Cargill and the European food industry toensure that the animal feed they buy does not contribute to thedestruction of the Amazon and that none of their soya products aregenetically engineered (3). In a meeting with Greenpeace this month,Cargill refused to stop its operations in the Amazon. 

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation that usesnon-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmentalproblems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peacefulfuture.

Other contacts: Thomas Henningsen, Greenpeace Amazon campaign co-ordinator, +49 171 8780 833 (in Germany)Natalia Truchi, Greenpeace International media officer +31 646184250 or +55 929 995 2070 (in the Amazon)Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace International forests campaign co-ordinator, (m) +31 652 391429 (in the Amazon)

Notes: (1) Details on that can be found in the report "Eating up the Amazon". A copy is available on: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) 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.(0) (0) (3) Cargill is a major player in genetically engineered (GE) soya and has bought GE soya grown in some Amazon regions. On 14th May a ship, Tonga, loaded with GE soya arrived in Brest, France from the Brazilian port of Paranagua, which is struggling to hold on to its GE free status. She was the first ship to bring GE soya from Paranagua into France and was chartered by Cargill.

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