Brazilian beef farms ‘used workers kept in conditions similar to slavery’

Workers on farms supplying world’s biggest meat firms allegedly paid £8 a day and housed in shacks with no toilets or running water

Brazilian companies and slaughterhouses including the world’s largest meat producer, JBS, sourced cattle from supplier farms that made use of workers kept in slavery-like conditions, according to a new report.

Workers on cattle farms supplying slaughterhouses earned as little as £8 a day and lived in improvised shacks with no bathrooms, toilets, running water or kitchens, according to a report from Brazilian investigative agency Repórter Brasil.

Since 1995, the report said, 55,000 Brazilian workers have been rescued by government inspectors from “situations similar to slavery”. While the number of investigations has fallen in recent years – 118 workers were freed in 2018, compared with 1,045 a decade earlier – that does not mean the situation has improved, just that inspections have been reduced, it noted.

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