Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is in flames, burning at the highest rate since 2013.

How factory farming is destroying habitats and endangering wildlife


Once again, fires are raging across Brazil, started deliberately by the factory farming industry to clear land.

Fires are surging throughout some of Brazil’s most biodiverse regions threatening wildlife and their habitats.

And the cause of these fires? Factory farming.

Why are these fires started?

Most of Brazil’s forest fires are set deliberately by the factory farming industry in order to clear the land to grow cheap crops to feed livestock or to use the pasture for grazing cattle.

These “slash and burn” practices involve cutting and burning anything in the way in order to create an open field to produce crops to feed animals in the cruel factory farming industry.

As the demand for meat increases around the world, devastating land clearance in the region worsens. Most soy planted worldwide is destined to feed animals experiencing unthinkable suffering on cruel factory farms.

This is a global problem with the clearance of land to grow crops to feed farmed animals threatening some of the world’s most iconic and vulnerable places, including the Cerrado, Pantanal, Amazon, Congo, Mekong, and Yangtze basins.

There have been 72,843 fires reported in Brazil since the beginning of the year. Over half of these have been within the Amazon rainforest.

World Animal Protection / Noelly Castro

What is the impact of the fires in Brazil?

These fires are devastating once pristine habitats and threatening iconic species like the jaguar, hyacinth macaw, giant otter, and giant anteater.

The fires in Brazil have affected millions of animals, many have died, and any surviving animals will face significant loss of habitat and suffer injury, hunger, and thirst.

In 2020 alone, fires consumed a third of the Pantanal biome, killing 17 million animals. Around 40% of the Amazon is now at the tipping point of turning from forest to savannah.

What is World Animal Protection doing to help?

World Animal Protection is urgently intervening to help wild animals suffering from the devastating fires consuming their habitat.

With Brazil’s wildlife on the frontline of this crisis, World Animal Protection is partnering with Instituto Homem Pantaneiro (IHP) and Pantanal/MS Technical Animal Rescue Group (GRETAP) to help animals injured and at risk in the Pantanal and Cerrado ecosystems.

Our focus is to help the wild animals  by enabling escape routes as well as providing water and nutrition. Where absolutely necessary, animals will be captured, transported, and treated before being released back into the wild where possible.

World Animal Protection supports the work of projects like “Orphans of the Fires”, which rehabilitates baby and juvenile giant anteaters in a rescue centre based in Mato Grosso do Sul.

Anteaters like Cecilia (pictured below) who was found orphaned after her home was destroyed by the fires in 2021. She is being cared for until she is ready to be released back to the wild where she belongs. Cecilia is among the lucky few who survived these fires, sadly, many more perish.

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Tamanduá Institute | Pictured: Cecilia in May 2022

Joao Almeida, Executive Director of World Animal Protection Brazil said:

“Seeing the impact of these fires on the environment and wildlife is devastating. We have seen baby deer with their legs burned, animals such as monkeys and jaguars completely carbonized, and others with their paws burnt, completely dehydrated or starving. We can no longer ignore the link between factory farming and the irresponsible behaviour of the big companies driving this devastation.

We are working to stop this horrific practice.

World Animal Protection is calling for no new factory farms to be built to tackle the root cause of these fires and to protect millions of wild animals that are suffering where the animal-feed industry is responsible.

Factory farming companies must track the origin of animal feed purchased and guarantee habitat is not destroyed.  They must also limit animal production to smaller numbers of farmed animals in high welfare, sustainable conditions with feed sourced locally and sustainably.

How can each of us help animals and promote alternatives to factory farming? 

Our food system is broken.

The ever-growing demand for cheap meat is driving this cruel practice. In order to keep up with demand, more and more food to feed these animals is needed – quite literally adding fuel to the fire.

You can help animals impacted by the fires by making a donation to our urgent appeal. Donate now to help us stop this senseless loss of wild lives.

There are many ways in which you can help promote alternatives to factory farming, such as reducing your meat consumption. Eating less, and higher welfare meat, will decrease the demand for industrial farming practices that destroy habitats and put wildlife at risk.

By choosing high welfare meats, you are saying no to factory farming. Raising animals humanely often leads to less feed, fuel and water use by farmers as they move away from intensive farming practices.

Whatever you choose to do, your support is critical to not only helping care for animals affected by these fires, but also in preventing them from happening again and again.

Three ways you can act right now:

Top image: World Animal Protection / Noelly Castro

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