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“Deforestation-Free” label wants to be the new “Grass-Fed”

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There’s a new frivolous buzzword that wants to impact how people shop for meat.

According to Sustainable Brands, thirteen of the top global fast food, retail and food manufacturing companies were examined by the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) for how “Deforestation-Free” their beef is. Forget “humane,” “grass-fed,” or even “anti-biotic free” beef, now consumers might get to decide how much rainforest they think is fair to cut down for their dinner.

We already know beef production unnecessarily kills cows and requires incredible quantities of water and grain to produce, but the results of this score-keeping found that even the “better” company policies and practices are responsible for the devastation of South American tropical forests being converted to cattle pastures. Of the thirteen companies, four received zero out of a possible 100 points, and the highest scores still didn’t top 52. The results prove that all beef production is causing more then just incredible lose of animal life, but land. And even if one company did manage to reach the whimsical perfect score, it’d just trick people in to buying from one exploiter instead of another. 

“The latest science shows beef production is responsible for more than twice as much deforestation as the other top drivers of tropical deforestation — soy, palm oil and wood products — combined,” Lael Goodman, a tropical forests analyst at UCS, told SB. Shouldn’t that alone make us want to end beef production? Nope, because all of this is in an effort to combat climate change -still the trendiest doomsday topic for most. But like other buzzwords, “deforestation-free” only tackles one small aspect of the problem that is animal agriculture as a whole.

Asha Sharma, a UCS researcher and lead author of the report told SB, “Our goal is to make sustainable beef production the industry norm, which is why we are urging the public to demand these companies take deforestation-risk beef off their ingredient lists.” Naturally, they have a petition set-up so people can quickly begin demanding that these corrupt and exploitative companies make some tiny changes so that we, the consumer, can sleep better. Or people can begin donating money to combat deforestation, and remain causing it -whichever.

The legitimate concern that people feel for the impact their choices have on our planet shouldn’t help enact stricter policies for industry. Anyone who wants to see the rehabilitation of our forests should recognize that not participating in the exploitation of animals is the only way. Going vegan means removing the demand these companies need to continue their destruction and rejecting the arbitrary guidelines given to boost consumer support in the production of all harmful animal industries.

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  • Gráinne O’Carroll

    Another meaningless word to make people feel good about killing. Sad!

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