Mc DONALDS DESTROYING THE AMAZON

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Mc DONALDS DESTROYING THE AMAZON

 user 2006-04-28 at 11:16:00 am Views: 73
  • #15065

    McAmazon
    greenpeace int’l
    International
    — It is a globally known symbol: the golden arches can be seen in many
    countries around the world. But whatever the fast food giant wants you
    to believe the golden arches stand for, McDonald’s today stands for
    rainforest destruction. And that is one very ‘Unhappy Meal’ for the
    planet.
    The Amazon rainforest needs no introduction; the mere
    mention of its name conjures up images of a huge untouched wilderness
    bursting with amazing life. But to McDonald’s and a handful of huge
    soya traders, the Amazon means something completely different. It means
    cheap land and cheap labour. Cheap land because it is often stolen,
    cheap labour because some of the people who work cutting down the
    forest or work on the farms in the Amazon are actually slaves.  You
    heard it right, slaves.
    ‘How is this possible,’ you ask? Well it goes something like this.
    The
    soya traders encourage farmers to cut down the rainforest and plant
    massive soya monocultures. The traders take the soya and ship it to
    Europe where it is fed to animals like chickens and pigs. The animals
    are then turned into fast food products like McDonald’s McNuggets and
    many other products found in fast food outlets and supermarkets.
    The
    journey from rainforest to restaurant might sound simple enough but it
    has taken a year-long investigation using satellite images, aerial
    surveillance, previously unreleased government documents and
    on-the-ground monitoring to expose.  What we found was a global trade
    in soya from rainforest destruction in the Amazon to McDonald’s fast
    food outlets and supermarkets across Europe.
    “This crime stretches
    from the heart of the Amazon across the entire European food industry.
    Supermarkets and fast food giants, like McDonald’s, must make sure
    their food is free from the links to the Amazon destruction, slavery
    and human rights abuses”
    Greenpeace forests campaign co-ordinator, Gavin Edwards.
    Most
    of the global trade in soya is controlled by a small number of massive
    traders: Cargill, Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). In Brazil,
    this cartel plays the role of bank to the farmers. Instead of providing
    loans they give farmers seed, fertiliser and herbicides in return for
    soya at harvest: Bunge alone provided the equivalent of nearly US$1
    billion worth of seed, fertiliser and herbicides to Brazilian farmers
    in 2004.
    This gives the companies indirect control over huge areas
    of land that used to be rainforest. Together, these three companies are
    responsible for around 60 percent of the total financing of soya
    production in Brazil.
    The state of Mato Grosso is Brazil’s worst in
    terms of deforestation and forest fires, accounting for nearly half of
    all the deforestation in the Amazon in 2003-04. In Mato Grosso, the
    governor, Blairo Maggi, is known locally as the ‘Soya King’. His own
    massive soya company Grupo Andre Maggi controls much of the soya
    production in the state and since his election in 2002, forest
    destruction in Mato Grosso has increased by 30 percent.
    Banks too
    have been caught up in the destruction of the Amazon. The International
    Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank,
    wrongly assessed a loan to Grupo Andre Maggi as being of ‘low
    environmental risk,’ despite evidence to the contrary. Other banks have
    also lent huge sums of money to the company without conducting their
    own environmental or social impact audits.
    So far, Rabobank, the
    Netherlands’ biggest agricultural bank has lent over US$330 million to
    Grupo Andre Maggi. Rabobank admitted that it didn’t do its own
    assessment of the risk of the loans, simply accepting the (flawed)
    assessment of the IFC.
    So fast food and supermarkets, soya traders and big banks are all trashing the Amazon rainforest.
    If
    we can track soya beans more than 7,000km (4,400 miles) from farms in
    the Amazon to chicken products in Europe, there is no excuse for the
    food industry not to know where their feed comes from, and to demand
    the exclusion of Amazon soya from their supply chain.