Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Fox guarding the henhouse’: Beef industry’s deforestation definition will not pass muster

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SYDNEY, Wednesday 8 May 2024 — In response to tomorrow’s expected release of Cattle Australia’s latest work attempting to develop an industry-led definition of deforestation, the following comments can be attributed to Head of Nature at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Glenn Walker:

“Australia has one of the world’s worst rates of deforestation, driven mostly by the beef industry. Every single day about 100,000 native animals are killed from this destruction as threatened species habitat, including for the iconic koala, is bulldozed at a rate of knots. 

“In just five years, 668,000 hectares of koala habitat was bulldozed by the beef industry for pasture — that’s 2,400 times the size of Sydney CBD. 

“It is simply not credible for the beef industry to cook up their own fantasy definition of deforestation and deny there is a problem — it’s like the fox guarding the henhouse.

“Any meaningful definition of deforestation must include threatened species habitat and regenerated forest — this is the widely accepted, global best practice approach. To ignore vital habitat for the endangered koala, for example, will not pass muster. Claims that the vast swathes of forest bulldozed for beef is for weed management are patently false. 

“Major global markets like the EU are moving rapidly towards responsibly-sourced beef — if the beef industry doesn’t clean up its act, it risks losing market and financial access. It’s deeply disappointing to see the Minister for Agriculture seemingly go against his own government’s goal of zero new species extinctions by railing against the EU’s critically important deforestation-free regulations.

“Any company in the beef supply chain, or financial institutions supporting the industry, should be very careful with any public claims they are deforestation-free based on deliberately weak definitions completely out of step with global best practice. 

“Market and financial regulators have made it clear that greenwashing is a priority area of concern and Greenpeace will be referring any suspect claims to these regulators. 

“The good news is that we already have the solutions — it’s only a relatively small number of operators doing most of the damage. The Australian beef industry can eliminate deforestation from the entire supply chain and be a leader in responsible beef production — this should be the focus of the industry, not continuing to deny a very serious problem.”

—ENDS—

High res images and footage of recent deforestation can be found here

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kate O’Callaghan on 0406 231 892 or [email protected]

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