23 May 2006

Protests at grain giant Cargill mark UN Biodiversity Day

First posted 11:59pm (Mla time) May 22, 2006 Agence France-Presse
ST-CYR-EN-VAL, France -- Greenpeace on Monday targeted buildings of the US commodities giant Cargill to protest at its business in Amazonia, in demonstrations timed to coincide with the UN's International Day for Biodiversity.Fifteen members of the environmental pressure group blocked the entrance to a Cargill-owned chicken processing plant at St.-Cyr-en-Val, near the centre-west city of Orleans, an Agence France-Presse reporter saw.
They were peacefully dislodged by police and the fire brigade after an hour.
In the southern English county of Surrey, meanwhile, activists chained themselves to the gates of Cargill's European headquarters and dumped nearly four tons of soya at the building's entrance, Greenpeace said in a press release.
The demonstrations were aimed at highlighting Cargill's purchasing of soya from fast-expanding farms in the Brazilian Amazon region. The soya is grown mainly to supply low-cost chickens in Europe.
A study published in March in the British scientific journal Nature said that, on present trends, cattle ranchers and soybean farmers will have destroyed 40 percent of the Amazonian rainforest by 2050.
Company officials at St.-Cyr-en-Val plant, which produces Chicken McNuggets for fast-food giant McDonald's, refused to make any comment to the press.

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