photo by Leonardo F. Freitas (leoffreitas on Flickr Creative Commons)

Much of the feed for British livestock comes from soybeans imported from South America – mainly Brazil and Argentina. According to an article in the Telegraph, 350,000 hectares of rainforest is being cut down to grow soy for UK animal feed.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) has published a report entitled ‘Pastures New’ detailing how the British meat and dairy industry indirectly causes rainforest destruction in South America.

The report incorporates new research by the Royal Agricultural College stating that only 8% of the UK’s agricultural land is used to grow animal feed. FOE urged the government to support farmers who graze cattle rather than feed them imported soy.

From an article in the Ecologist:

The UK could cut its dependency on imported soy in half by encouraging farmers to switch to home-grown alternative protein crops like oilseed rape meal, lupin, sunflower, linseed, beans and peas.

98% of imported soy animal feed for Britain’s poultry, pig and dairy comes from South America, where soy farming has been linked to deforestation.

From a Press Association report:

Animals should be born, bred and fed British – but pressure from supermarkets and biased EU subsidies force farmers to rely on damaging imports. The government must listen to growing calls for it to restore a thriving meat and dairy sector by helping farmers switch to planet-friendly practices

–Sandra Bell, senior food campaigner, Friends of the Earth

Animal farming contributes to climate change in manifold ways, including deforestation, CO2 from transportation and infrastructure and methane emissions from the livestock. FoE urges consumers to adopt a more vegetarian diet.

Additional resources:

New York Times – Ranchers and Drug Barons Threaten Rain Forest

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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