More than 10,000 people have signed a new petition from the Soil Association demanding supermarkets take action on pesticide poisonings in the Amazon.
The organic organisation launched its Stop Poison Poultry campaign, highlighting that British shoppers are unknowingly buying chicken that is linked to the poisoning of people and rare tropical animals in Latin America.
In what it calls a ‘hidden scandal’, billions of bees, colourful macaw parrots, endangered tapirs, fish, frogs, birds of prey, and bats across vital Latin American ecosystems are falling victim to the toxic chemicals sprayed on soya.
This soya is then exported to the UK to feed livestock, primarily chickens, and the health of soya farmers and their families is also at risk. More than one million tonnes of soya are imported into the UK each year to feed British meat chickens, which are predominantly housed in intensive systems.
It points out that these chemicals are killing bees and bugs, and the animals who eat those insects are being found with a cocktail of chemicals in their bodies. People, especially children, are also suffering, with around 70,000 pesticide poisonings in Brazil every year.
Since launching, more than 10,000 people have signed the petition, which calls on supermarkets to remove wildlife killing pesticides from their soya supply chains.
Soil Association Campaigns Advisor, Cathy Cliff, explained: “British shoppers should be able to walk into a supermarket and buy food that isn’t harming children, killing bees, or threatening rare and treasured wildlife thousands of miles away. The average British chicken casts a toxic shadow and comes with a poisonous price tag – and vulnerable animals and communities are paying that price with their health.
“The scale of highly hazardous pesticide use in Brazil is terrifying, as is our chicken industry’s reliance on these soya crops. It is a hidden scandal that both British shoppers and farmers are largely blind to, and it must not continue – we must stop the poisoning associated with UK poultry farming.”
She went on: “These poisonings are not the fault of British farmers or retailers but the evidence is deeply concerning. British businesses and the UK Government must respond. “Our farmers should be able to purchase feeds that don’t harm biodiversity and communities. Now is the time to invest in UK protein crops and ease our reliance on imported soya – British businesses
can lead the way in addressing this environmental challenge.”