The Soil Association has launched a campaign to stop chicken farmers from using feed sourced from Latin America, where it is grown using ‘toxic’ pesticides.
Its new “Stop Poison Poultry” highlighted that British shoppers are unknowingly buying chicken that is linked to the poisoning of people and rare tropical animals in Latin America.
In a “hidden scandal”, billions of bees, macaw parrots, endangered tapirs, fish, frogs, birds of prey and bats across Latin American ecosystems have fallen victim to the toxic chemicals sprayed on soya, which is then exported to the UK to feed chickens and other livestock.
The UK imports one million tonnes of soya each year, much of it coming from Brazil, a country that sees around 70,000 human pesticide poisonings every year.
“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 Soil Association campaigns advisor Cathy Cliff said.
“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.”
The Soil Association launched a petition to the public as part of the campaign after research found that none of the 10 leading supermarkets was not monitoring or restricting the use of hazardous pesticides in their soya supply chains.
The petition, which attracted more than 10,000 signatures in its first week, also called for the government and businesses to help farmers grow more protein crops in the UK – with investment in farmer-led research into homegrown animal feed.
Cliff added: “These poisonings are not the fault of British farmers or retailers,” Cathy continued, “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.”