An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Guardian has also uncovered instances of mass medication and apparently routine use of drugs on some UK pig farms, despite industry drives to combat the overuse of antibiotics. Andrew Wasley and Susannah Savage report

Some pigs are routinely dosed with veterinary medicines. Picture: Jim Wickens/Ecostorm

The use of certain antibiotics deemed critical to human health has surged on British pig farms supplying major supermarkets, prompting fresh concerns about the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Previously unpublished industry data seen by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Vet Record and the Guardian shows the use of a class of antibiotics prescribed for various infections…

By Claire Colley and Andrew Wasley

More than 61 million chickens were rejected because of diseases and defects at slaughterhouses in England and Wales over a three-year period, according to figures analysed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Guardian.

Broilers, chickens raised for meat, were the worst affected with almost 59 million defects recorded. More than 39 million broilers arrived and were rejected at slaughter due to disease — approximately 35,000 every day.

The inspection findings, compiled from Food Standards Agency (FSA) data, resulted in either part of a bird or a whole bird being condemned and rejected…

Cattle ranching in Brazil has been linked to deforestation. Picture: Greenpeace

By Andrew Wasley and Alexandra Heal

Analysts at global banking giant HSBC have sounded the alarm over the potential risks of investing in JBS, the world’s biggest meat company, after a string of investigations raising concerns about Amazon deforestation issues in its beef supply chain.

The meat giant “has no vision, action plan, timeline, technology or solution” for monitoring whether the cattle it buys originate from farms involved in rainforest destruction, according to analysis by the bank, which has substantial investments in the troubled meat packing firm.

Revealed: new evidence links Brazil meat giant JBS to Amazon deforestation

In a…


Award-winning food journalist Andrew Wasley has spent the best part of two decades investigating the hidden costs of cheap meat. He’s revealed the brutal conditions inside factory farms and abattoirs, exposed the devastating environmental impacts of industrial agribusiness and uncovered shocking food safety scandals that put the health of millions at risk. This is the full, inside story of his journey into the heart of the global meat machine. Photo journalist Jo-Anne McArthur has been documenting the lives of animals, including those used for food, for nearly 20 years. Her award-winning reportage has taken her to more than sixty countries.

Forest fires in Brazil— often linked to land clearance for beef cattle farming — have provoked global concern. Picture: Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

Forest fires in Brazil — often linked to land clearance for beef cattle farming — have provoked global concern. Picture: Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

Reporting team: André Campos, Andrew Wasley, Alexandra Heal, Dom Phillips and Piero Locatelli

New evidence appears to connect JBS, the world’s biggest meat company, to cattle supplied from a farm in the Brazilian Amazon which is under sanction for illegal deforestation.

This is the fifth time in a year that allegations have surfaced connecting the company to Amazon farmers linked with illegal deforestation.

Brazilian beef companies have repeatedly claimed that the biggest challenge to keeping deforestation out of their supply chains is the “indirect suppliers” — farms where cattle are birthed, or which sell to farms where cattle are fattened…

By Andrew Wasley and Alexandra Heal

Two of the world’s leading development banks have pumped billions of dollars into the global livestock sector, despite warnings that reducing meat and dairy consumption is essential for tackling the climate crisis.

The livestock sector uses more than 80% of the world’s farmland, yet provides only 18% of global calories. Photograph: George Steinmetz/The Guardian

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) — the commercial lending arm of the World Bank — and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have provided $2.6bn (£2.1bn) for pig, poultry and beef farming, as well as dairy and meat processing, in the past 10 years.

The UK government is a major funder of both banks and its own development bank, CDC…

Significant deforestation has been linked to the beef trade in South America. Picture: Greenpeace

By Andrew Wasley and Alexandra Heal

British-based banks and finance houses have provided more than $2bn (£1.5bn) in financial backing in recent years to Brazilian beef companies which have been linked to Amazon deforestation, according to new research.

Thousands of hectares of Amazon are being felled every year to graze cattle and provide meat for world markets.

As well as providing financial backing for Minerva, Brazil’s second largest beef exporter, and Marfrig, its second largest meat processing company, UK-based financial institutions held tens of millions of dollars worth of shares in JBS, the world’s largest meat company.

All three meat…

Forest fires are frequently linked to clearance of land for beef ranching. Picture: Jim Wickens/Ecostorm

By Andrew Wasley and Alexandra Heal

The World Bank should reconsider its investment in one of Brazil’s biggest beef producers because of the industry’s links to deforestation and the climate crisis, according to two UN-appointed experts.

Minerva is Brazil’s second largest beef exporter, and some of its product is supplied, both directly and indirectly, by cattle farmers based in the Amazon rainforest.

However, although it has been able to certify 100% of its direct suppliers as zero-deforestation, it is currently — like the other large Brazilian beef companies — unable to monitor indirect suppliers.

The World Bank’s investment arm, the…

By Bibi van der Zee, Alexandra Heal and Andrew Wasley

There is growing support in the UK and Europe for laws that would make due diligence on issues such as deforestation and human rights abuses mandatory for large businesses.

NGOs have been pushing for regulatory action for at least a decade. But this year governments and, more surprisingly, the private sector have swung behind the cause.

France introduced a law on duty of diligence in 2017 which places a civil liability on large businesses that fail to monitor and prevent human rights and environmental abuses in their supply chain. …

Forest fires have been found to be more common within the buying zones of beef companies. Picture: Jim Wickens/Ecostorm

Reporting team: Alexandra Heal, Andrew Wasley, Sam Cutler and André Campos

Fires were three times more common in beef-producing zones than in the rest of the Amazon this summer, according to a new analysis.

The findings once again draw attention to the links between Brazil’s powerful beef industry and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, just as the world debates climate change at COP25.

Responding to the work by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), MEPs called on the EU to block beef which may be linked to deforestation. …

Andrew Wasley

Award-winning investigative journalist specialising in food and environment issues. Full coverage see:

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