The claims made by the National Beef Association (Slave to trade - MTJ, Jan 20) that Brazilian beef sold in the UK might have been produced from cattle grazing on land which was cleared by slaves make exciting reading. It could make a good filmscript for Harrison Ford or Russell Crowe but bears no relation to reality.
Brazil has a massive land area and the NBA should know that the extensive and very professional export beef industry is not anywhere near the rain forest. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) has dismissed the NBA claims as untrue and more agricultural protectionism.
The reality is that the scale and competitiveness of Brazilian beef is the result of efficiency and productivity gains. British meat trading companies who know Brazil well have witnessed huge improvements in recent years and the skilled conversion of existing agricultural land into cattle production.
Large investments in new meat plants and research and development project coupled with the growth in cattle volumes has brought Brazil into the premier league of world meat producers, capable of very long runs of consistent quality cuts which are ideal for many uses here in the UK. The NBA knows that British farms cannot produce much more than 60 per cent of total UK needs and so imports are inevitable.
Perhaps, the NBA should put more of its creative energies into making our excellent British beef even better and encourage greater efficiencies here. This must make more sense than crudely 'bashing imports' with ludicrous claims.
President, International Meat Trades Association.