A trio of white cattle

Who Bought Apyterewa’s Illegal Cattle?

How cattle raised illegally in an Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon were laundered into the supply chains of JBS and Frigol

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and a major contributor in other important biomes such as the Cerrado. Most of this deforestation is illegal. In one of the most flagrant examples, prior to a government crackdown in late 2023, an estimated 60,000 head of cattle were being raised in the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory – the land of the Parakanã Indigenous Peoples – despite commercial ranching being illegal there under federal law. Apyterewa became the most deforested Indigenous Territory in the Amazon as a result of these invasions.

Despite the criminal nature of ranching in Apyterewa, the cattle were easily sold to ranches outside of the Territory and ultimately to slaughterhouses, entering Brazil’s beef and leather supply chains. EIA analyzed a large database of government-issued cattle transport permits, property registrations, satellite imagery, and information from field sources to follow the path of illegally raised cattle from Apyterewa into the supply chains of major meat companies operating in the area, in particular JBS and Frigol.

Our findings and responses from the companies are summarized in our new report, Who Bought Apyterewa’s Illegal Cattle? The report identifies urgent actions the Brazilian government, its key trading partners, and meat companies must take to decouple cattle ranching from deforestation and crime in the Amazon and other threatened biomes in Brazil.

Leia em português