The Soil Association is asking the public to tell leading UK supermarkets to remove wildlife-killing pesticides from their soya supply chains.
The organic charity has set up a ‘Stop Poison Poultry’ petition in response to growing evidence of the damage to wildlife, rivers and farms in the Americas being wreaked by toxic pesticides used to grow industrial feed for intensive poultry.
British chickens, in industrial farm systems, are commonly fed on soya sourced from Brazil. In recent decades, Brazil has become the global epicentre of soya production and pesticide use, with soya production increasing almost sixfold, and pesticide use by 900%, since 1990.
Roughly 2.4 million tonnes of GM soya beans are imported each year to be fed to livestock in the UK.
Many of the pesticides applied to soya crops in Brazil would be illegal to use in the UK or EU, in recognition of their highly hazardous nature and potential for causing harm to the environment and human health.
The Soil Association says that an investigation it carried out found that leading British supermarkets are failing to adequately monitor pesticide use in their soya and chicken feed supply chains. It claims none of the supermarkets that were surveyed were taking all appropriate steps to prevent pesticide-related harms associated with soya crops.