Greenpeace volunteers unfurled a 300 square meter banner in a massive area of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest Thursday morning, May 18, with the words ‘KFC – Amazon Criminal’ – in advance of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (KFC) Annual General Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky this Friday, May 19.
Activists in two inflatable boats also protested against US commodities giant Cargill, at its illegal soy export facility in the heart of the Amazon, which supplies KFC with animal feed in Europe.
They held up a banner saying ‘Cargill Out’, as rainforest soy was being prepared for export. Both protests highlight the fact that KFC is fueling the destruction of the Amazon by selling cheap chicken fed on soy grown on deforested land.
Recent Greenpeace investigations have traced the chain of rainforest destruction directly from the heart of the Amazon, via Cargill’s facility, to KFC’s European restaurants, which sell bucket-loads of cheap soy-fed chicken to millions of people every day.
According to Greenpeace, US company Cargill, which owns an illegal export terminal at Santarém, is supplied by farms operating on rainforest land that has been illegally cleared for soy production.
Almost all of the soy passing through this terminal, says the NGO, is destined for Europe. In 2005 more than 50% went to the Netherlands, 31% went to the UK, Spain received 6.5% & 6% to France.
Industry sources and Greenpeace research have identified Cargill soy terminals in Europe, through which Cargill’s Amazon soy enters the continent, as a source of feed for KFC meat in the UK and Netherlands.
"Deforestation, slavery, use of toxic chemicals, land theft, illegal farming and the extinction of rare species are a recipe for disaster in the Amazon rainforest, but they are ingredients in KFC’s quest for cheap animal feed," said Greenpeace International Forest Campaign Coordinator Gavin Edwards.
"Fast food companies like KFC must take Amazon deforestation off their menu before it is too late for the world’s greatest rainforest."
The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at an alarming rate and is in urgent need of protection. Since January 2003, nearly 70,000 km2 has been destroyed, equivalent to an area of rainforest the size of 6 football pitches every minute. Soy, which is mainly grown to feed animals, is a leading cause of this destruction.
A report last month in Nature magazine revealed that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening bio-diversity and massively contributing to climate change.
KFC is part of Yum! Brands, Inc., the world’s largest restaurant chain which includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W and other fast food companies. Greenpeace recently wrote to Yum! Brands, Inc. regarding the destruction of the Amazon, but the company claimed its soy is grown in other parts of Brazil. Yet Greenpeace has traced its supply chain and found that some comes from facilities that use soy grown in the Amazon rainforest.
Greenpeace is calling on KFC and Cargill to ensure that the animal feed they buy does not contribute to the destruction of the Amazon and that none of their soy products are genetically engineered.
Greenpeace – www.greenpeace.org