Large slaughterhouse in Brazil to hit record numbers in killing animals

A big cow is sitting with a baby cow next to her
Rescued cows at a sanctuary, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

A large beef slaughterhouse in Brazil, expects to reach 3 billion reals (around $585 million) in net revenue for the first time in 2021. The news comes in a time where producing less meat is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

An all-time high in meat sales also means an all-time high in the number of animals killed.

Frigol’s sales are this high because the company focuses on selling meat to foreign countries, mostly in Asia. In an interview with Reuters, the company’s CEO, Marcos Câmara, said that exports now represent 44% of revenue this year, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2019.

Raising cows, pigs and chicken generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined, the environmental organization Greenpeace said. Animal farmers also cut millions of trees to create space to keep their animals.

According to a United Nations report, people need to eat less meat and more plant-based to fight climate change. 

“The company is increasingly turning to the foreign market. Currently, the main destination is Asia, and there, China and Hong Kong are our biggest buyers”, Câmara said.

In 2020, the company is expected to reach a record 2.4 billion reals in revenue, compared to 1.85 billion billed in the previous year, because of this increase in exports. The other giant meat producers in Brazil are JBS, Marfrig and Minerva Foods.  

Of the five Frigol slaughterhouses, one kills pigs and four kill cows. Two of them have been “China-approved” to send beef. Frigol is now waiting for a third slaughterhouse to be approved by China.

According to him, another meat destination that could bring “promising” results for the company next year is Israel. Câmara said that they started selling meat to Israel in August: “A meat that meets Jewish requirements, with different slaughter and preparation.”

Other countries he mentioned as potential clients were Canada and Japan. Both the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporters (Abiec) and the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) are “positive” about the increase in beef and pork export to Asia.

It is not known whether these authorities and meat producers also take climate change and the need for less meat production into consideration when responding “positive” to all the increased numbers.

Demand for sustainable meat alternatives is rising due to growing concerns from consumers about the environment and animal welfare, but at the same time, meat sales numbers in some countries are at an all time high.

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