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A host of mainstream media outlets have published articles linking the Amazon fires to cattle farming.
The Amazon, which is home to around one million indigenous people and three million species of plants and animals, has seen a record number of fires this year.
The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), has detected 72,843 fires between January and August. This represents an 84 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018. This is a cause for concern as the Amazon is a vital carbon store which slows down the pace of global warming.
Many conservations and scientists have pointed the finger of blame at Brazil’s far-right populist president Jair Bolsonaro, who pledged to develop the region for farming and mining when he took office in January, despite the warnings of conservationists around deforestation.
Over the last decade, Brazilian governments had slowed the rate of deforestation, implementing a system of fines and action by federal agencies.
But under Bolsanaro, there has been a decline in the number of environmental crime convictions and timber confiscations, who has criticized the penalties implemented by former ministers.
News outlets and cattle farming
Multiple news outlets have now published pieces linking the fires to meat consumption, including CNN, Vice, and The Japan Times among others.
In an article titled The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat, major news outlet CNN also singled out Bolsanaro, saying: “While the wildfires raging in theAmazon rainforest may constitute an “international crisis,” they are hardly an accident.
“The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country’s so-called ‘beef caucus’.
“While this may be business as usual for Brazil’s beef farmers, the rest of the world is looking on in horror.”
‘Stop eating meat’
Vice published a piece titled Feeling Sad About the Amazon Fires? Stop Eating Meat, saying: “The problem, however, is not totally out of people’s hands. Studies have shown that the fires aren’t caused by natural occurrences, but by humans – our love for meat, to be exact.
“The fires are caused by burning fallen trees to make way for cattle ranching, a growing industry in Brazil and the wider region. Data from the Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia (IPAM) show that the top ten municipalities in Amazonia with the most fire occurrences also had the biggest deforestation rates this year.
“The most practical solution people can adopt to help is to reduce – or stop – their meat intake.”