Brazil was the biggest exporter of beef and veal in the world in 2017 as well as in 2019 (forecast). Despite alreading being the biggest exporter of the meat, Brazil was also one of the countries growing its exports the strongest, together with Argentina.
While Brazilian beef is certainly is a sought-after product abroad, Brazil has also been criticized for its cattle industry which is strongest in the central states of the country and has caused a lot of deforestation. Cattle need feed and room to graze. Millions of acres have been cleared to make room for the animals themselves as well as soy plantations, a crop of which 80 percent is used for animal feed worldwide.
The fires currently wreaking havoc on the Brazilian rainforest were caused by the burning of trees in connection to the clearing of forest for the soy and cattle industries, as well as small-scale farmers slashing and burning their cropland, according to The Guardian. Most of the fires were caused by illegal activity, according to the report.