Jaguars prowl Brixton Tesco to highlight link to deforestation

Volunteers from South West London Greenpeace visited Tesco in Brixton today (28 November) to reimagine a scene from Greenpeace’s new animation, Monster, in which a jaguar turns up in a boy’s kitchen to tell him about the destruction of his forest home for industrial meat production.

Greenpeace volunteers took photos with cut-outs of the jaguar and the boy outside Tesco to raise awareness of the supermarket’s part in the destruction of forests like the Amazon.

They said that Tesco is driving this destruction by selling more soya-fed meat than any other UK supermarket, much of it from companies owned by rainforest destroyers.

Greenpeace volunteer Holly Hawkins from Clapham said: “Threatened wildlife such as jaguars are losing their homes to deforestation, so that’s why we brought these magnificent creatures to Tesco in Brixton today.

“New Tesco CEO Ken Murphy needs to take urgent action to stop fuelling the destruction of forests like the Amazon.

“Tesco sells hundreds and thousands of tonnes of industrial meat, much of it produced by companies owned by rainforest-destroyers JBS.

“Tesco must replace half the meat it sells with plant-based food by 2025 and cut ties with forest destroyers.”

Greenpeace volunteers also delivered a letter from Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven,to the store manager calling on Murphy to act now to help drive change to protect forests, nature and the health of our planet – starting by phasing out industrial meat. 

These visits followed on from a tour by Greenpeace UK of a life-size animatronic jaguar to Tesco supermarkets in Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, and London. The jaguar roared from the roof of what appeared to be a delivery van, surrounded by forest foliage. Flames engulfed Tesco’s strapline on the sides of the van, which had been subverted to read “Every Little Harms”.

Greenpeace said devastating fires raged across Brazil this year consuming an area of land the size of the UK in places like the Amazon rainforest, Pantanal wetlands and Cerrado savannah.

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Greenpeace Unearthed, released this week, linked retailers including Tesco, Asda, Lidl, McDonalds and Nandos to fires on farmland in the Brazilian Cerrado.

These habitats are vital for threatened jaguar populations, globally important in the fight against climate change and, ever more crucially, key to keeping new, potentially deadly viruses under control.

Brixton Tescos today

Earlier this month, the Westminster government announced a new “due diligence” law designed to curb deforestation in the UK supply chain.

But this new law will only tackle deforestation deemed illegal by the country of origin rather than all deforestation.

This will allow UK companies to continue buying from those operating in countries like Brazil where the Bolsonaro government is systematically dismantling forest protection, rather than finally forcing retailers to end all deforestation in the food system as they promised ten years ago.

Tesco, along with other supermarkets, wrote to the government calling for the law to be strengthened. 

Yet the supermarket still welcomed it, while continuing to buy meat from companies owned by JBS, the world’s biggest meat packing company.

JBS has repeatedly been linked to deforestation in the Amazon, as well as human rights violations.

Greenpeace volunteer Angela Munden said: “I just watched Greenpeace’s new film Monster, and I’m horrified at the extent of the devastation of forests like the Amazon caused by industrial meat production.

“Just like the little boy in Greenpeace’s Monster video we know what to do – we all need to reduce the amount of meat we eat and call on Tesco to play its part and to stop selling industrial meat that’s driving the destruction of the homes of indigenous people and wildlife, and contributing to the climate emergency.

“Find out why there’s a monster in our kitchens by searching Greenpeace Monster and sign our petition to Tesco.”

This year, the Amazon has seen the worst fires for a decade. In the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands, fires have endangeredt at least 600 jaguars out of an estimated population of 2,000 in the region.