How JBS is profiting from cruelty and killing our world
What’s on your dinner plate? New investigation reveals how the world’s biggest meat supplier dodges the rules to put food on our tables
Brazilian conglomerate JBS involved in grain laundering, land grabs, deforestation and animal cruelty
The world’s biggest meat producer is selling food sourced from illegal, inhumane and climate wrecking farming methods, a new investigation by international charity World Animal Protection and Repórter Brasil reveals.
Factory farming conglomerate, JBS – which supplies meat to leading supermarkets, wholesalers and global fast-food brands - uses a complex web of intermediaries to hide its purchases of animal feed grown by farmers involved in illegal land grabs and wild habitat destruction.
Our PROFITING FROM CRUELTY AND KILLING OUR WORLD details how Brazil-based JBS attempts to cover up its excessive carbon and cruelty footprint by:
- Buying animal feed crops grown on prohibited land grabbed by farmers.
- Engaging in grain laundering to hide its role in destroying the environment.
- Paying lip service to or manipulating national and international rules and guidelines to put profit ahead of sustainability, climate change and animal welfare.
- Supplying unethically produced factory farmed products to international business customers through its own brand, Seara.
- Jeopardising Brazil’s effort to reach zero deforestation by 2030.
Investigators tracked soy cultivated by farmers who grabbed land from a traditional Brazilian community. The grain was then transported to one of JBS Seara’s 43 feed processing plants via a third party, Bunge, using so-called grain laundering, which sees illegally grown soy, maize and corn passed off as legitimate.
As illustrated here, the feed ended up at JBS factory farms where millions of sentient animals – including pigs and chickens – are cruelly caged, over fed, dosed with drugs to stave-off diseases, and then slaughtered on an industrial scale. The resulting meat products are shipped around the world to millions of unsuspecting consumers and businesses, leaving a large carbon and cruelty footprint.
Among the global brands that sell JBS’s unethical meat products include Aldi, Ali Baba, Asda, Burger King, Carrefour, Costco, Lidl, McDonalds, Nandos, KFC and Popeyes, and the UK’s leading supermarkets - Asda, Morrissons, Sainsburys and Tesco.
Brazil’s pristine ecosystems are on the frontline of the crops-for-factory farming onslaught. Fires are lit deliberately to clear the land, which fuels climate change by releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Brazil’s plan to halt deforestation by 2030 will fail if nothing is done.
As well as caging millions of animals, JBS’ modus operandi inflicts immense cruelty on wild animals. Destruction of the Cerrado, the area we investigated, spiked dramatically in the first six months of this year. The Cerrado is home to 5% of the planet’s animals – including jaguars, anteaters, rhea birds, tapirs and armadillos – and rare trees and plants.
Jacqueline Mills, Head of Farming Campaign at World Animal Protection, said:
JBS is one of the biggest food producers shoppers have likely never heard about – though we all need to know about the cruelty and devastation it causes. The evidence we have uncovered exposes unethical and harmful practices within the meat production sector – and this should concern everyone because companies like JBS want to expand their devastating methods globally.
Factory farming is the source of the greatest cruelty to animals in the world, and the animal feed trade is its rocket fuel. Without global trade in unsustainable animal feed crops, factory farming would crumble. That’s why we are using the evidence from this important investigation to call for an end to factory farming and for higher animal welfare in 21st century farming and food systems.
World Animal Protection and Repórter Brasil have passed their findings to JBS – the latest evidence of a long line of wrong-doing by the company.
Last month, World Animal Protection joined a coalition urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to block the company’s U.S. initial public offering and investigate claims in JBS's prospectus.
Shoppers need to know more about profit-hungry companies like JBS so they can make well-informed choices when they buy food, and to call out the suppliers involved in cruelty and destruction.
You can find the investigation’s full report here
Notes to Editors:
For interviews with the investigators and report authors, please contact Peter Simpson.
JBS product brands include Moy Park, Pilgrims, Primo, Seara and more. A full list by location can be found here: https://jbsfoodsgroup.com/our-brands.
Investigation Case Study X.
The investigation found that JBS bought grain via a trader (Bunge) from a farmer that registered neighbouring traditional community land as his own in the threatened Cerrado ecosystem in Brazil. In this region, farms are required to maintain 20% of their land for conservation. But to make up for land they have 'lost', unscrupulous farmers claim public land to set aside for conservation to allow them to plant as much grain as possible for profit on existing farmland.
Our investigation tracked Farmer X’s sale of soy crops to the crushing plant of grain trader Bunge, which was then transported to a JBS Seara feed plant in Feira de Santana.
At Bunge’s soybean crushing plant in Luis Eduardo Magalhães in Bahia, an employee confirmed that the grain arrived from the farm in question “during all harvest season.” In addition, a truck driver also reported having already transported it from the farm to that location. An employee at Bunge’s plant in Luís Eduardo Magalhães and truck drivers confirmed that this unit supplies soy to the JBS Seara plant in Feira de Santana in Bahia.
Investigation Case Study Y.
The investigation found JBS bought grain via a trader (Bunge) from a farmer who, to profit, disguised the origin of the crop which was grown on prohibited land. Known as 'grain laundering', this practice enables some farmers to evade bans designed to allow vegetation to regenerate following previous unauthorised land clearance.
In this instance, Bunge - a JBS soy supplier - bought animal feed crops from Farmer Y who disguised its illegal origins. This was revealed in the farmer and crop purchaser contract which showed a much higher volume of crops than would ordinarily be possible to grow on the farmer’s legal lands.
Our research of contracts between Farmer Y and grain trader, Bunge, revealed that Farmer Y had committed to provide 2.8 thousand tonnes of soybeans for the 2022 harvest. However, the supplying farm was not specified.
Our examination of the boundaries of Farmer Y’s properties showed there was evidence of insufficient land authorised to grow grain to meet the terms of the contract. This suggests the grain must have come from elsewhere – most likely from prohibited areas – and this lack of contract specificity facilitates grain laundering.
We also traced a contract with another grain buyer committing Farmer Y to produce even more grain. Again, it would not ordinarily be possible for the farmer to produce sufficient grain to satisfy both contracts on the area of land authorised for grain production.
Evidence from multiple people interviewed in the supply chain showed that grain from Farmer Y went to a Bunge facility and on to JBS Seara in Feira de Santana.
A previous investigation by World Animal Protection and Repórter Brasil also showed that Bunge sells grains to JBS Seara1.
JBS responded to Repórter Brasil, claiming it does not have a current supply relationship with Farmer X. The company has not responded objectively to the evidence presented to it on Farmer Y, stating only that “the information is incorrect” without specifying exactly what it was referring to. It has not denied nor confirmed a supply relationship.
In both cases, Bunge did not respond to the specific evidence shared with them but stated that they avoid buying from farms that deforest.
- The JBS business arm exporting poultry and pork meat for profit around the world is called Seara. It has 30 chicken meat slaughterhouses and 8 pig slaughterhouses in Brazil.
- Chickens and pigs farmed in Brazil are fed grains which are kept artificially cheap off the back of unscrupulous business practice and the company exports meat around the world to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
- Across their global operations, JBS slaughters more than 13 million chickens, 128,000 pigs, and 77,000 cattle around the world every day.
- JBS’s deforestation policy currently allows deforestation of the Amazon region until 2025 and other parts of Brazil until 2030, with deforestation allowed elsewhere globally until 2035.