Brazil’s biggest beef companies have been directly linked to more than 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of illegal deforestation in the Amazon state of Pará. According to a recent investigation by NGO Global Witness, JBS, Marfrig and Minerva bought cattle from a combined total of 379 ranches between 2017 and 2019 where illegal deforestation had taken place. Global Witness said the deforestation contravened the beef companies’ zero-deforestation pledges and agreements with federal prosecutors in Brazil. Ranchers accused by the authorities of land-grabbing as well as rights abuses against indigenous peoples and activists were still able to sell their product to the firms, the group said. The firms also failed to monitor 4,000 ranches in their supply chains that were connected to large areas of deforestation in the state, investigators found.  “Our investigation clearly demonstrates that relying on an unregulated private sector with voluntary no-deforestation policies has failed to tackle forest destruction and related human rights abuses. This could contribute to the permanent loss of the Amazon rainforest,” Chris Moye, senior Amazon forests investigator at Global Witness, said in a statement. Brazil has the second-largest cattle herd in the world, which is the leading driver of deforestation emissions in Latin America. In 2009, JBS, Minerva and Marfrig pledged not to buy cattle from ranches linked to deforestation, or ones that overlapped with indigenous lands or were accused of land grabbing, from that year onwards. The locations of the ranches in Pará linked to illegal deforestation which JBS, Marfrig and Minerva purchased from…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer