The world’s largest manufacturer of meat, Brazilian company JBS, has been linked to a gruesome mass murder in a recent investigation. According to The Guardian, both JBS and its competitor Marfrig consistently worked with at least one farm that had allegedly orchestrated the torture and murder of civilians who sought to protect their claim to land in the Amazon rainforest.
The farm at the center of the controversy was owned by Valdelir João de Souza. Prosecutors accused de Souza of ordering numerous killings, specifically the massacre of nine men in 2017. Known as the “Colniza Massacre,” the men were brutally killed after squatting on remote forest land. Some of the bodies showed signs of torture before being stabbed or shot.
Prosecutors added that though de Souza was not in the region during the killings, he had ordered the homicides through a gang known as “the hooded ones.” The purpose was to frighten locals so that they would abandon the land, freeing it up so that men like de Souza could lay claim to its natural resources.
Meanwhile, de Souza has said that he has never been involved with the death squad and proclaimed his innocence.
“I never went around armed, so why at my age of 41, with solid companies, a peaceful life, no debts, without any problems, would I do something so barbaric?” de Souza previously stated in an interview.
“I built everything with the honesty and effort of my family. Why would I throw it all away?” he added.
Since the accusations, de Souza has been on the run in Brazil, claiming that the “real” murderers would try to kill him if he returned. However, his charges of murder did not stop him from registering two new farms that bred cattle. These farms would systematically sell their cattle to “clean” farm intermediaries — which would, within minutes, sell the cattle to both JBS and Marfrig.
JBS has denied their culpability in the process, reiterating that they do not “acquire cattle from farms involved in deforestation of native forests, invasion of indigenous reserves of conservation, rural violence, land conflicts, or that used slave or child labour.”
However, JBS and Marfrig did not make any comment on the loophole of farms with questionable backgrounds selling to approved farms, thus indirectly supplying the company.
Other farms that take advantage of the loophole are often guilty of deforestation, despite a number of agreements against the environmentally destructive practice.
Deforestation has become so rampant in the Amazon that scientists have recently discovered that pockets of the region are actually emitting carbon dioxide instead of absorbing it, as was recently reported by The Inquisitr.