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May 27, 2020 - Mongabay

Brazilian taxpayers subsidizing Amazon-clearing cattle ranches, study shows

Brazilian taxpayers subsidizing Amazon-clearing cattle ranches, study shows
Brazil Meat Shop WindowFile Photo / © Photabulous!

One in every 10 pieces of beef served up on Brazilian plates is paid for by tax dollars. The national beef industry is one of the most heavily subsidized by state and federal governments, to the tune of 12.3 billion reais ($2.2 billion) per year in the form of tax incentives, easy credit, and even debt forgiveness.

Even though it’s a multibillion-dollar industry — on March 25 this year, JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacking company, reported 6 billion reais ($1.1 billion) in profit for 2019, the best results in its history to date — the tax revenue it contributes to the Brazilian treasury, averaging 15.1 billion reais ($3 billion) per year, is small compared to the incentives.

That means that for every $1 collected in taxes from the beef sector, only 20 cents effectively goes to society; the rest goes back to the producers in the form of various benefits.

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