Human Carnivorous Voracity. Pollution, dispossession and climate change

Human Carnivorous Voracity. Pollution, dispossession and climate change

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By Silvia Ribeiro *

These and other data that we need to know about this industry, because they affect our life, nature and the environment in many ways, are part of the Meat Atlas, a new publication of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, prepared in collaboration with other organizations and researchers .

The case of Granjas Carroll in Mexico is a paradigmatic example of many of the impacts and modes of operation that characterize this industry.
The company was partially bought in 1994 by the Smithfield Company, a US multinational that was the world's largest producer of pork and which, upon arrival in Mexico, intensified and increased its production even more. Smithfield moved to Mexico fleeing several millionaire lawsuits due to the serious contamination caused by its facilities in the United States. It arrived here taking advantage of the lack of regulation and oversight that Mexico offered, de facto, as a comparative advantage in NAFTA, to polluting industries in North America. Pollution and protests by residents of neighboring towns, affected by the poisoning of their soil, groundwater and air had no consequences for Smithfield here. The governments of Puebla and Veracruz were in charge of criminalizing and prosecuting the victims who protested the contamination.

In 2013, the largest meat processor in China, Shuanghui, bought Smithfield, in an operation typical of the current global trend in this industry: food processing mega-companies from Brazil, India and China have been buying companies producing, slaughtering and processing meat. meats, dairy, and eggs around the world.

Currently, JBS SA, of Brazilian headquarters, is the largest global producer of beef and after the acquisition in 2013 of Seara Brasil, also the largest global producer of poultry. JBS is among the 10 largest food processors on the planet and is a leader in slaughter capacity. It outperforms traditional food industry giants such as Unilever, Cargill and Danone in annual revenue.

JBS has the capacity to slaughter 85 thousand head of cattle, 70 thousand pigs and 12 million birds daily, which it distributes in 150 countries. Tyson Foods and Cargill follow in volume. The latter has a quarter of the meat market in the United States and is the largest exporter of meat in Argentina. In fourth place is Brasil Foods (BRF), product of the merger of the mega-companies Sadia and Perdigão in 2012. Before the purchase by Shuanghui, Smithfield ranked seventh among food processors worldwide.

Mexico, with conditions such as those granted to Granjas Carroll, has become one of the 10 countries with the highest production of beef, pork and poultry on a global scale. Transnational companies dominate the industry, displacing many small and medium-sized national producers in the past two decades.
The meat industry has not stopped and continues to seek ever larger scales. Concentration occurs on two levels: through mergers and acquisitions - creating larger and larger companies - and intensifying production: they artificially accelerate growth, enlarge breeding centers, increase the number of animals per area and the rate of processing .

This type of confined rearing is based exclusively on industrial forages. They have replaced the various crops that were used before with transgenic soybeans and corn. Currently 98 percent of the global production of these two transgenic grains goes for forage and a few other industrial uses. Mexico is no exception: while the national production of non-transgenic corn is in surplus for human consumption and for various other activities, companies still import transgenic corn for forages for industrial animal husbandry, a need created by themselves, which also By feeding this devastating industry, it places corn at risk of contamination, in its center of origin.
Large industrial animal husbandry facilities eliminate sources of income for millions of farmers and small farmers globally, while reducing consumer choice. The profits of transnationals, shareholders and investors are increasing, at the cost of putting health at risk, causing animal suffering, eliminating the diversity of races, undermining food security and sovereignty, polluting and abusing water, among other impacts.

We will continue to present aspects of this industry and also the alternatives to this harmful development. For now, next Tuesday, August 12 at 6:00 p.m., the H. Böll Foundation will present the Atlas of Meat, with a debate at the organic restaurant Carnívoro, Yucatán 138, Colonia Roma, in Mexico City.

* Researcher at the ETC Group

The Day

Video: Who Is Responsible For Climate Change? Who Needs To Fix It? (July 2022).


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