JBS refutes allegations it illegally bought cattle

by Bryan Salvage
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SÃO PAULO, Brazil – After conducting an internal investigation, officials with JBS SA concluded its cattle-buying practices in the state of Acre, Brazil are in order and a civil lawsuit implicating the company illegally purchased cattle there is unfounded. The lawsuit involves “the possible purchase of 578 head of cattle during the past four years,” according to JBS. At issue is that the purchased cattle came from land in the Amazon that was illegally deforested.

In a statement, JBS states it uses a system that ensures cattle purchased from Acre comply with its commitments to requirements mandated by the Brazilian Environmental Agency and the Ministry of Labor. The system requires three different compliance checks during the purchasing process. This system was operating before the commitments with public organizations were signed in October 2009 – and it ensures all cattle purchases in Acre were made in compliance with those commitments, company executives responded.

When analyzing information from the civil lawsuit, JBS SA pointed out the following inaccuracies:

  • Three of the named Animal Transit Documents (GTA) are not listed in the cattle procurement system nor were they located in the Public Civil Lawsuit acts. Results of a consultation made using the date of these GTAs show there were no cattle purchases linked to these documents.

  • Eight of the mentioned GTAs were issued, but the cattle were returned before slaughter because the suppliers´ names appeared on the IBAMA embargoed areas list. Although it is possible these suppliers did not cancel the GTAs, these animals were not slaughtered by the company.

  • Three GTAs came from properties that did not appear on the embargoed areas list on the day of slaughter and this can be proven through the printed version of the IBAMA website from that date.

  • Although two GTAs relate to suppliers who own an embargoed area, cattle were not purchased from those areas. Animals were sourced from other farms owned by those suppliers, which do not appear on the embargoed areas list of IBAMA (as indicated on the GTA), thus in compliance with the applicable legislation.

JBS said it has never purchased cattle from those properties linked by Public Authorities to labor conditions equivalent to slavery. “Any discussion about a possible sentencing of the company to pay any fine is inapplicable,” the company said in a statement.

“JBS' cattle sourcing has been proved to be correct and in compliance with legislation, as well as with the company’s social and environmental commitments. All procedures are submitted twice a year to an external and independent audit hired exclusively for this purpose,” the company concluded.

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