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AP details how an American meat broker helps fuel Amazon deforestation

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Pulitzer Center/Rainforest Investigations Network reporting fellow Sasha Chavkin, aided with data analysis from Camille Fassett, analyzed shipping records and followed a paper trail that led him to a little-known American company whose activities are contributing to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Chavkin’s in-depth reporting for the story has already had impact, prompting the company to join industry working groups on sustainability, pledge to plant a million trees, and begin developing a policy against deforestation. The Brazilian cattle industry is one of the principal contributors to deforestation of the Amazon, which is losing its ability to regulate climate and absorb carbon emissions as forest cover is cleared for cattle grazing and roads. Chavkin knew that rising incomes in China were fueling record demand for beef. So, he sought out shipping records covering a decade of beef exports between Brazil and China. Chavkin discovered that Brazil’s beef exports to China surged sixfold in that period, making China the world’s biggest importer of beef. He also found that Utah-based PMI Foods had shipped more than $1.7 billion in Brazilian beef during those years.

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