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Greenpeace stops soy ship to protest Amazon damage

Written by: Staff
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AMSTERDAM, Apr 7 (Reuters) Greenpeace stopped a soybean ship entering Amsterdam's port today to protest against damage done to the Amazon rain forest by soy production, the environmental group said.

Greenpeace activists in rubber boats blocked the ship's path in the Dutch North Sea canal.

''The increasing soybean cultivation is the largest threat to the Amazon rain forest,'' Greenpeace said in a statement.

The Amazon rain forest, home to 30 percent of the world's animal and plant species, loses a chunk of its territory to logging each year. The land is usually then taken over for ranching or farming.

Greenpeace said that the Netherlands, home to Europe's second biggest animal feed industry after France, imported about 21 percent of Brazil's soybean crop each year through the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

''The Netherlands is the biggest importer of soybean and that's why it is equally responsible for deforestation,'' it said.

The group said a total of about 7 million hectares (27,000 sq miles) of rainforest was lost in the last three years, including the impact of illegal logging. The rainforest covers more than 400 million hectares in total.

If deforestation continued at its current pace, some 40 percent of the rain forest would be wiped out by 2050, Greenpeace said.

Last year, Brazil said the rate of Amazon deforestation had fallen by 30 percent in the year to August, the first decline since 2000-01 and the biggest since 1995-96.

Officials attributed the drop to a plan launched last year to curb illegal logging. Environmentalists are not convinced there will be a lasting effect, however.

REUTERS SBJ RAI2057

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