Why is grass-fed beef such good news for birds?

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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 , Paraguay and Uruguay, they are home to 12 species of globally birds such as the (Xanthopsar flavus), Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris), Chestnut Seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea) and Black-and-white Monjita (Xolmis dominicanus).

Today a was spotted in one of the Grassland’s Alliance ranches in Brazil – a reminder of the importance of these landscapes for birds © Fran Alverja

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.

Grasslands Alliance by Marfrig

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 Saffron-cowled Blackbird is another species that benefits from grassland conservation © Aves Argentinas

The Grasslands Alliance is an initiative led by – 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.


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Anda V Johanna

Animal agriculture of any type is bad for the animals and for the planet! Stop it. Stupid article.

Anda V Johanna

NO NEED WHATSOEVER for any type of meat. Meat = MURDER. Save the South-American rainforests! don't turn them into crops for animals you then kill unnecesarily. Go VEGAN <3 for the animals, for the humans, for the planet, to fight global warming, for the future! Watch Cowspiracy and also watch Earthlings. Evolve: go vegan!

Dominique Osh

Although you feel grateful for some cooperation to save some birds, it's hard to not completely realize the truth that murdering any animals for consumption is not only still contributing to massive global warming into the 6th extinction, it is still maintaining the mentality that animals lives are not thier own and are only meant for human domination by any horrific means.