1 July 2020

Live cattle have highest deforestation risk of Brazil's exported cattle products

More than 200,000 head of live cattle, worth more than US$200 million, are exported from Brazil each year. The main markets in 2015–2017 were Venezuela (32%), Turkey (27%), Lebanon (22%), Jordan (8%) and Iraq (7%), where cattle are both used as breeding stock and raised for slaughter.

Transporting live animals over such long distances has clear implications for animal welfare. But Brazil’s live cattle exports are also disproportionately linked to deforestation in the Amazon  – and carry nearly five times more deforestation risk per tonne than other cattle products the country exports (fresh and processed beef, and offal).

Brazil’s live cattle exports mostly leave through the northern port of Barcarena, at the mouth of the Tocantins River near Belém. They are sourced from ranches concentrated in the Amazon state of Pará. The trader Minerva handled nearly half of all Brazil’s live cattle exports from 2015 to 2017.