Finland has urged the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef from its markets because of the meat industry’s role in the Amazon rainforest fires.
The Northern European nation currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The presidency’s role, which rotates among member states, is to chair meetings of the Council, decide on its agendas, implement a work programme, and encourage discussions between EU institutions.
“Finance Minister Mika Lintila condemns the destruction of Amazon rainforests and suggests that the EU and Finland should urgently review the possibility of banning Brazilian beef imports,” Finland’s finance ministry said in a statement. Brazil is one of the world’s top beef producers.
“Now we need effective action from the EU… I am ready to raise the issue with my EU Finance Minister colleagues who will be coming to Helsinki in September, if there is no progress before then,” Lintila said.
Beef and the Amazon Rainforest Fires
The world’s largest rainforest — it covers an area of 5.5 million km² — has been ablaze for more than three weeks. The disaster could have a severe impact on the climate crisis. The Amazon is known as “the planet’s lungs” since it produces six percent of the Earth’s oxygen. Destroying the rainforest’s trees not only strips this oxygen source from the planet but also releases carbon dioxide, which is stored in trees, into the atmosphere. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that deforestation is responsible for 10 percent of global emissions.
The fires are said to have started by intentional land clearing by the beef industry. “These are not wildfires, but rather fires set by people seeking to create cattle ranches, intentionally ignited during the dry season each year. They cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it, so that the ashes can fertilize the soil,” Ane Alencar, the scientific director of Brazilian NGO IPAM (Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia), said in a statement.
Crops like soy are also grown on Amazon land and therefore are a driver of deforestation. However, according to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 80 percent of Amazon soy is used as animal feed.