Sète, France – Today, 50 activists from France, Germany and the Netherlands blocked a freighter carrying soymeal for animal feed coming from the port of Cotegipe, Salvador in Brazil, and interrupted it from berthing at the port of Sète, south of France, to draw attention to deforestation for soya production.

According to shipping information the cargo ship ELLIREA was destined to unload 50,000 tons of soymeal, half in France and half in Slovenia, to feed animals across the European Union.

“Since President Macron and his government are unable to meet their commitments to fight deforestation and climate change, we have decided to do it for them,” said Cécile Leuba, Forests Campaigner at Greenpeace France.

At the quay, activists blocked the ship’s access to the berth and four unloading cranes, at 14:30 local time. They also repainted the hull of the ship with the message “Forest Killer” and unfolded banners stating: “Stop industrial livestock” or “Warning: soya that deforests”.

“We’re in a climate emergency and we can’t tackle it with rhetoric and false promises. Protecting and restoring forests is one of the best defences we have against climate breakdown. The shift from industrial animal farming to ecological agriculture is more urgent than ever. Governments need to act while there are still forests left to protect. France needs to implement its strategy against imported deforestation now,” said Leuba.

This protest follows the 11 June release of a report, entitled Hooked on Meat: How Europe’s soya addiction is feeding the climate emergency, which shows how the industrial livestock system and over-consumption of meat and dairy in Europe are contributing to massive deforestation and the destruction of valuable ecosystems in South America.

As much as 89% of the soya originating from the port of Cotegipe, Salvador comes from the Cerrado, the most biodiverse savannah in the world that originally covered 24% of Brazil.

As victims of rapid destruction, the Cerrado’s forests, savannas and grasslands are being converted into soya fields and cattle ranching areas. Nearly half of its original vegetation, about 88 million hectares, has already been destroyed, largely for beef and soya production, with devastating impacts on the region’s biodiversity and traditional communities that call it home.

Greenpeace is also concerned that these soya monocultures are often cultivated with the use of GMOs and pesticides partially banned in the European Union. 

Greenpeace France is calling for:

  • A ban on imports of soya and other agricultural commodities, unless proven to have not contributed to deforestation or ecosystem destruction, in line with principles set out in the national strategy.
  • An ambitious Vegetable Protein Plan that encourages the development of a diversity of legumes, that are sustainable and regionally adapted, to feed both animals and humans.  
  • Agricultural policies and plans – including the next EU Common Agricultural Policy – to promote reduction in animal farming.
  • The end of public subsidies for industrial livestock models to finally ensure this transition towards ecological farming.

ENDS

Photos and videos of the action can be downloaded here

Notes:

 [1] Greenpeace France Report: Hooked on Meat: How Europe’s soya addiction is feeding the climate emergency       

[2] Last month Greenpeace International revealed that at least 50 million hectares of forest worldwide will have been destroyed for commodities during the 10 years of broken corporate commitments leading up to 2020. Greenpeace is calling on companies to fundamentally change their business model or start winding down. 

Contacts:

Laurence Veyne, Deputy Program Director, Greenpeace France: laurence.veyne@greenpeace.org, +33 6 46 90 21 05

Greenpeace International Press Desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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