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Brazil: How to Atone for Beef's Sins

Source:  Copyright 2008, Inter Press Service
Date:  June 21, 2008
Byline:  Mario Osava
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The global food crisis and climate change have cast the spotlight on negative aspects of the cattle industry, such as the high consumption of vegetable protein to generate relatively little meat, and the sector’s role in global warming.

Because of its cattle, Brazil is among the world's leading emitters of greenhouse gases. The livestock industry has encroached on the Amazon rainforest and is a leading cause of deforestation. According to its first national inventory, in 1994, logging represented 75 percent of Brazil's greenhouse gases.

The destruction of forests, which has accelerated since the 1980s, coincides with the expansion of cattle-raising. From 1994 to 2006, the national herd grew from 158 million to 205 million head, and 82 percent of that increase took place in the Amazon region, according to the study "The Cattle Kingdom" by the environmental group Friends of the Earth-Brazilian Amazon, released in ...

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