Undercover Investigation Shows How McDonald’s Is Destroying Brazil’s Amazon

    Greenpeace exposed this Thursday, April 6, the role played by American-based fast-food chain McDonald’s in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

    As part of a new campaign to tackle the latest threat to the Amazon, Greenpeace has completed a year-long undercover investigation into the global trade in Amazon soya.

    The findings are being published in a new report, "Eating up the Amazon". Using satellite images, aerial surveillance, previously unreleased government documents and on-the-ground monitoring, Greenpeace traced soya from criminal rainforest destruction to McDonald’s restaurants and to supermarkets across Europe.

    In response, this morning dozens of seven-foot-tall chickens invaded McDonald’s restaurants across the UK and chained themselves to chairs. Scores of McDonald’s around the country, including Leicester Square, London, were also fly-posted overnight with images of Ronald McDonald wielding a chainsaw.

    In Munich, Germany, protestors also gathered at McDonald’s European environmental affairs headquarters and called on the company to stop destroying the Amazon rainforest.

    Greenpeace forests campaign coordinator, Gavin Edwards, said: "Fast food giants like McDonald’s are trashing the Amazon for cheap meat. Every time you buy a Chicken McNugget you could be taking a bite out of the Amazon."

    Three US commodities giants, Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill, which control most of Europe’s soya market, are fueling the rainforest destruction to grow feed for animals in Europe. Cargill, which is leading the invasion, has done deals with unscrupulous farms that have illegally grabbed and deforested areas of public and indigenous land. Some have even used slave labor.

    Cargill has illegally built its own port in the heart of the Amazon, from which it exports the soya to the Cargill terminal in Liverpool, UK. >From there, the soya goes to Cargill-owned food producer, Sun Valley, which feeds the soya to the chickens it uses to make McNuggets, which it distributes to McDonald’s restaurants across Europe.

    A recent report in scientific journal Nature in the issue dated March 23, 2006, warned that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening biodiversity and seriously contributing to climate change. Soya monocultures also rely heavily on toxic chemicals, and some also grow genetically engineered soya in the Amazon.

    Edwards added: "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 says they have documentary evidence that proves the following:

    The soya from Amazon farms is exported from Santarém, in the state of Pará, in Brazil, to Europe, along with non-Amazon soya. Cargill exported over 220,000 tons of Brazilian soya from Santarém to Liverpool in the UK from March 2005 to February 2006.

    Greenpeace has tracked Santarém soya from Cargill’s Liverpool facility to an animal feed producer whose chickens are processed into Chicken McNuggets and other products by Sun Valley. Senior Sun Valley staff told Greenpeace 25% of their chicken feed comes from Cargill’s Liverpool facility.

    Through separate McDonald’s business units in Wolverhampton and Orleans in France, Sun Valley is McDonald’s largest poultry supplier in Europe, producing half of all chicken products used by McDonald’s across Europe.

    In a meeting last week between Greenpeace and McDonald’s, the company did not deny that their chicken is fed on Amazon Soya. Greenpeace first asked McDonald’s to account for their chicken feed three months ago.

    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.

    Greenpeace – www.greeenpeace.org

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    • Show Comments (8)

    • Guest

      I’m a big supporter of Greenpeace but even I’m shocked at their accusation. If they’re looking for some market support, and asking Mikey Ds to boycott Cargill et.al, that’s fine, but to lynch the damn clown as a major forest destroyer becuase a small portion of Cargill et.al’s “illegal” soy makes it into chicken feed is just plain ludicrous and weak. You would think that with so many legitimate targets around, Marshall McLuhans media darlings of the eco-beat could do a little bit better than this. I won’t cut my donations just yet, but they need to get their act in order.

    • Guest

      “But I don’t understand the connection of “brazilians sending money back” with anything other than racism and ignorance!!!”

      What in God’s green green world is rascist about the comment? Ignorant, Ya I can go with that. But rascist? What are you smoking son?

    • Guest

      Orange juice second !!!!!
      Noooooo. Dead wrong. Please review your sources.

    • Guest

      CRAZY…
      Shouldn’t the local brazilian authorities be responsible for the improprieties of the growers???
      I mean I think their food sucks, but to hold them acountable is another thing.
      But I don’t understand the connection of “brazilians sending money back” with anything other than racism and ignorance!!!

    • Guest

      PR whores
      Greenpeace needs to refocus. Tell them to go after Wal*Mart.

    • Guest

      “Therefore 220’000 tons is a drop in the ocean of Brazilian soya.”

      You’re 100% correct!! Soya is brazilians #1 industry! With oranges being 2nd, and people from outside brazil sending money to brazil being 3rd!!!

    • Guest

      yep, ridiculous article, especially putting blame on McDonalds. Which is more logical, making accountable the very people and companies that are destroying the amazon, or putting the responsibility on customers of the companies destroying the amazon. Sorry, but think that one is asking a lot of other companies to investigate the business practices of their vendors. Making sure the products they buy are of quality is one thing, but looking into how those vendors grow their products and who their using in their workforce is over the top.

      I’m not in any way defending what is happening in the Amazon, but the very companies that are actually there, in the Amazon, and destroying it, need to be held accountable.

    • Guest

      Ridiculous….Greenpeace !
      Eventually Greenpeace is not aware that Brazil produces around 50 millions tons of soya and that around 50 %% is exported and the other 50 % consumed and used in Brazil..
      Therefore 220’000 tons is a drop in the ocean of Brazilian soya.
      So ridiculous when the220’000 tons represent 0.5 % of total Brazilian production. Just a few small cargo ships within hundreds and hundreds !!!

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