Save the Rainforest? Not If You’re Eating Whoppers at Burger King

A new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists recorded the beef industry’s progress toward reducing deforestation. Researchers ranked 13 U.S. companies on the strength of their efforts over the past few years in South America, where the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has skyrocketed in recent decades.

Although major beef buyers like McDonald’s and Walmart have committed to buying beef raised on land that hasn’t been clear-cut, researchers said in the report that American companies are not going far enough. And Burger King, ConAgra, Kroger, and Pizza Hut are a few major companies that earned a zero score for failing to make any commitment to protecting the rainforest. 

Even companies getting high marks are most likely buying indirectly from ranchers that clear-cut. This is because “not all of their supplying ranches are traced and monitored for deforestation, explains the report.

Raising animals for food requires a lot of land. A 2010 report by the United Nations states that over one-third of the earth’s landmass is utilized for animal agriculture. Between 1990 and 2005, beef production was responsible for 71 percent of the deforestation in South America. 

According to the World Bank, livestock is culpable for nearly 91 percent of Amazon destruction. In Brazil, the world’s second-largest beef producer after the U.S., 80 percent of the forests have been destroyed due to beef production. Farmers have decimated millions of acres across South America not only for grazing land, but also for production of soy, most of which is used as food for livestock.

This may all sound incredibly overwhelming, but thankfully there’s something you can do right now to help stop the destruction of the rainforest. By switching to a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate vegan diet you can withdraw your support of this terrible industry. 

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