After years of work, SAVE Brasil has managed to bring bird-friendly beef with the seal of the Grasslands Alliance into the markets of Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. But why is grass-fed beef such good news for birds?
The Southern Cone grasslands are a biologically, culturally and economically unique landscape. Formed by vast fields ranging from Brazil to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, they are home to 12 species of globally endangered birds such as the Saffron-cowled Blackbird (Xanthopsar flavus), Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris), Chestnut Seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea) and Black-and-white Monjita (Xolmis dominicanus).
In the Southern Cone, 95% of the grasslands are privately owned. Farmers face huge financial pressure to convert their native grasslands into crops to make more money over the short term, or to sell their land to industrial-scale agricultural giants. These grasslands now represent one of the most critically endangered ecosystems in Latin America, yet provide one of the richest grazing areas in the world and are home to hundreds of bird species.
The Grassland Alliance came together to counter the pressures faced by private owners, coordinating the work of four BirdLife Partners – Aves Argentinas, Guyra Paraguay, Aves Uruguay and SAVE Brasil – ranchers, and their business partners. The result of years of work, the bird-friendly beef certification system awards farms that conserve at least 50% of their original landscape. The meat is sold at higher prices since ranchers must also ensure farmers follow good practices such as feeding cattle with high quality food and water, and providing the cows with enough shade and shelter.
Certified grass-fed beef is already being sold in Argentina. Finally, after years of work, it is now also available in Brazil. BirdLife Partner SAVE Brasil signed an agreement with Marfrig Global Foods to supply the Carrefour supermarket chain in Porto Alegre with its certified beef.
“To see the Alianza del Pastizal natural beef available in one of the largest supermarkets companies in the world is a huge achievement. It is a very good example of a project that integrates economy and biodiversity conservation”, said Pedro Develey, Executive Director at SAVE Brasil.
We congratulate the Grasslands Alliance team in Brazil for this great achievement!
The Grasslands Alliance is an initiative led by BirdLife International – coordinating the work of our local Partners SAVE Brazil, Aves Argentinas, Guyra Paraguay and Aves Uruguay. Find out more:www.alianzadelpastizal.org
This article was first published by BirdLife International on 25 May 2016.