A new report released by environmental organizations Mighty Earth, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and Fern connected the meat and dairy industries to mass deforestation in South America. “The Avoidable Crisis” report was compiled from an investigation using drone footage led by the organizations in the Gran Chaco region in South America (home to wild animals such as jaguars, screaming hairy armadillo, and giant anteater), which is currently being cleared extensively for use as soy farmland by companies Cargill and Bunge—suppliers of animal feed to fast-food chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s, and Walmart. “The level of destruction was astounding. We documented bulldozers in action clearing large areas of intact forests and grasslands, as well as huge fires billowing smoke into the air,” Mighty Earth Policy Director Anahita Yousefi said. “While the Gran Chaco has traditionally received less attention than other biomes like the Brazilian Amazon, it’s a vitally important ecosystem, and there’s no reason to destroy it.” The report is a follow-up to a similar investigation Mighty Earth conducted last year that implicated Burger King in the destruction of regions of the Amazon rainforest across Bolivia and Brazil that its suppliers, particularly Cargill, cleared for the production of soy.
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