Sixty Greenpeace activists prevented Saturday, April 29, commodities giant Cargill from unloading a shipment of Amazon soya in Amsterdam port, to protest against the destruction of huge tracts of the Amazon rainforest to grow soya to feed farm animals in Europe.
The activists are from: The Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Chile, Italy and Hungary.
Several activists chained themselves to the conveyor belt and the suction pump Cargill uses to unload the soya, while others started to paint ‘Forest Crime’ on the company’s silos.
Greenpeace forests campaign coordinator, Gavin Edwards, said: "Cargill is trashing the Amazon so we can eat cheap meat. The scale of the destruction is incredible – approximately 19,000 hectares of the rainforest, almost the size of Amsterdam, would have to be destroyed to grow the amount of soya on this ship alone."
Cargill, which leads the global trade in Amazon soya, has according to Greenpeace illegally built a port in the heart of the Amazon rainforest to export its soya.
The company, 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 has documented that the company has dealt with farms that have illegally grabbed and deforested areas of public and indigenous Amazon land. Some have even used slave labor.
"This crime stretches from Cargill’s illegal operations in the Amazon rainforest to food companies, supermarkets and fast food chains across Europe. Cargill must stop destroying the Amazon to grow soya and must sever its links to slavery and human rights abuses."
This last shipment is the second to have arrived in Amsterdam since Greenpeace first blew the whistle on the company earlier this month. The Amazon soya comes from the Brazilian states of Rondônia and Pará.
In 2005, 787,000 tons of soya were exported from Santarém: 52% went to the Netherlands; 31% to the UK; 6.5% to Spain; 6% to France.
A recent report in scientific journal Nature 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 Amazon soya is genetically engineered.
Greenpeace – www.greenpeace.org