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The Amazon is burning, the EU is accomplice.

Fires in the Amazon shed light on the ongoing environmental crisis in Brazil and its link with the agricultural system. FYEG calls on the EU to take responsibility and radically change its agricultural and trade policy to limit its damaging impact.

 

Fires in the Amazon have greatly increased this year compared to the previous ones. Most of these fires are not accidental but intentionally lit to clear the Amazon rainforest in order to use the land for agriculture (mostly areas used for livestock farming or cultivation of soy for animal feed purposes).

Although illegal, the destruction of the Amazon is a long lasting phenomenon in Brazil. After decreasing in the last decade, it is now clearly encouraged by the new right-wing Brasilian president Jair Bolsonaro and its administration. They have encouraged these practices in speeches and by guaranteeing impunity to those lighting fires and by reducing the budget of the agencies in charge of the protection of the Amazon and replacing their leadership.

Deforestation in the Amazon should be a global concern. First of all, in the fight against climate change as it is one of the largest carbon sinks worldwide, meaning that it captures CO2 from the atmosphere and that this CO2 is released when the forest burns. Deforestation is also a threat to the unique biodiversity hosted by the Amazon. Finally, these fires and the military response of the Brasilian government violate the rights of indigenous communities living there.

The destruction of the Amazon is not an accident but the collateral damage of a broken economic and agricultural system, still promoted by the EU. The EU industrial livestock production relies heavily on imports of oilseeds (including soy) to feed animals as 74% of oilseeds used for animal feed in the EU are imported*, mostly from the USA and Brasil. Imports of our the agro-industry are directly responsible for the situation in the Amazon.

Although the EU should aim at decreasing its animal feed imports from Brazil to stop encouraging deforestation, the European Commission is currently negotiating a new free-trade deal with Mercosur, which aims at increasing trade with Mercosur countries, including Brazil.

The Federation of Young European Greens therefore calls on the EU to immediately end its negotiations with Mercosur and to quickly phase out animal feed imports from Brazil. FYEG also calls on the future Common Agricultural Policy to aim at decreasing the reliance of the EU on animal feed imports, by decreasing livestock production, promoting sustainable livestock farming (pasture-based and grass-fed system) and phasing out industrial livestock farming.

 

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* https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/commission-publishes-overview-eu-feed-sup...