[Infographic or graph: Deforestation in Nicaragua]
The world is at a tipping point on climate change. While fossil fuels are a key driver, deforestation is another. Every year animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all of the transportation sector, accelerating global warming and putting the future of humanity at risk.
[Image idea: Cattle deforested, protected land]
Mesoamerica is a biodiversity hotspot; with only 0.5 percent of the world's land surface, the region is home to 7% of its biological diversity. The five forests of Mesoamerica are the home of endangered species, such as the jaguar, scarlet macaw, tapir and giant anteater. They are also the home of over 500,000 indigenous and Afrodescendent peoples, whose livelihoods depend on the conservation of these ancient forests. Together, they manage and protect half of the remaining forested area. They need our support.
[*Image ideas: Cattle deforested, protected land; animals on the IUCN red list, such as the Giant Anteater, Jaguar, Baird’s Tapir, Great Green Macaw]
In countries like Nicaragua, international demand for beef is the main cause of deforestation. Despite laws that prohibit cattle farms in protected land and beef traceability programs, illegally raised cattle are laundered and sold to slaughterhouses that export beef overseas.
[IMAGE of tagged cows within the reserve.]
Beef importers claim that their suppliers don’t harm the environment, but Nicaragua’s slaughter houses rely on a traceability system plagued by corruption and lack of transparency. And indigenous communities have documented tagged cows inside protected forests and indigenous territories.
[Call out US importers who are buying and selling conflict beef and other products being illegally harvested (e.g., soybeans, palm oil, rubber and cocoa).]
Today, Nicaragua is the largest exporter of beef in Central America. As a result, the country has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates, with a loss of nearly 60% of its forests in the last 40 years.
Value of Nicaraguan beef and leather imports into the US in 2021]
The US is the number one importer of laundered Nicaraguan beef. Unsuspecting Americans are unaware of the origins of the beef they consume and often how their personal dietary choices negatively affect climate change and indigenous communities. [LINK to the Re:Wild Your Fridge campaign.]