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The Truth Exposed: How The Meat Industry Is Driving Deforestation In Brazil


Animal agriculture is destroying Brazil’s habitats and our planet, and is responsible for the suffering of billions of animals. Animal Equality has today launched a global campaign urging the Brazilian Government and other world leaders to take specific actions that will hold the meat industry accountable for its crimes.

Animal Equality’s investigative team in Brazil travelled to the west central state of Mato Grosso, to document the illegal fires burning in the Pantanal wetlands and Cerrado savannahs. Interviews with those on the front lines trying to stop the blazes revealed that ranchers are illegally setting fires to clear land to raise cows for meat, as well as for planting soy – the majority of which is exported to be used as feed for farmed animals around the world.

Over half of the Cerrado region has now been deforested, and recently the tropical wetlands of Pantanal have become more severely affected by illegal fires too – 29% of the area was burned in 2020.

Animal agriculture is by far the biggest cause of deforestation in Brazil, and the country is the world’s largest exporter of meat from cows, exporting it to 154 countries worldwide including the UK.

Not only is the lack of regulation in Brazil’s animal agriculture industry driving environmental destruction, but it also causes suffering to the cows who are killed for meat in the country. There is no comprehensive tracking system in place for farmed animals, meaning that cows raised in illegally deforested areas can be sent directly to unlicensed slaughterhouses, where they are often killed in extremely cruel ways.

The meat industry is causing indefensible harm to both animals and our planet. Fires are raging through the world’s precious ecosystems, and factory farming is the driving force behind this environmental devastation. The climate is changing and so must we: Governments globally must act now to stop these blazes in Brazil from burning any further.

Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK

Animal Equality’s teams in Brazil, the UK and other countries around the world are calling on the Brazilian National Congress to pass legislation requiring Brazilian cow meat producers to put transparent monitoring systems in place. We are also urging Brazil’s trading partners around the world to stop importing products from these cruel and destructive practices.

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