In December 2008, Friends of the Earth launched a campaign to raise awareness of the impact of cattle ranching and the Western demand for soya meal on deforestation in the Amazon.
Now, Greenpeace US has gone a step further, and pointed the finger of blame squarely at cattle ranching as the single biggest driver of deforestation in the region.
In its report, Amazon Cattle Footprint, Greenpeace says that 40 per cent of Brazil’s cattle are currently kept within the confines of the Amazon, where illegally occupied forest land is available cheaply, and numbers are growing fast.
A survey using government data shows that in 2006, cattle occupied 79.5 per cent of land already in legal use in the Brazilian Amazon.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist June 2009