Greenpeace Investigation Links U.S. Agribusiness to Rainforest Scandal
July 6, 2010
Greenpeace International in the Netherlands released evidence today exposing the role of Cargill in rainforest destruction,and revealing the company’s ties to slavery and land-grabbing in the Amazon. As a result of the investigation, Greenpeace is urging Cargill to end its unlawful operations in Santarem, Brazil, and commit to buying soy from legal farms that are not destroying rainforests or using slave labor.
A two-year investigation, documented in a new Greenpeace International report entitled "Eating up the Amazon," used satellite images, aerial surveillance, previously unreleased government documents and on-the-ground monitoring to trace the global trade in soy from the boardrooms of U.S. multinationals to the disappearing rainforests of the Amazon to supermarket shelves and fast food counters in Europe.
The investigation exposed Cargill as a leading culprit in this rainforest invasion. The Minnesota-based giant has illegally built a port in the Amazon to export its soy and has made deals with unscrupulous farms that have grabbed public and indigenous lands by force and fraud, illegally cleared large areas of rainforest, and, in some cases, even used slave labor. The major ranches behind these tragedies are named for the first time in the investigation summary.
"Cargill is destroying the Amazon rainforest, supporting the enslavement of its inhabitants, and promoting illegal land-grabbing," said Greenpeace forests expert Scott Paul. "They have been trying for years to paint a rosy picture of what they're doing in Brazil. This investigation proves Cargill's true colors in the region.."
A recent report in the scientific journal Nature warned that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening biodiversity and seriously contributing to global warming. Soy monocultures also rely heavily on toxic chemicals, poisoning land and water across huge areas of the Amazon.
"This crime stretches from the heart of the Amazon straight to the American midwest. Agribusiness giants like Cargill, ADM and Bunge must make sure that their operations are free from the links to the Amazon destruction, slavery and human rights abuses," added Paul.
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