As part of a new strategy to prevent deforestation in the Amazon, government officials in Brazil have begun seizing livestock that graze on illegal ranches.
"In an unprecedented move against rogue cattle ranchers in the Amazon, the Brazilian government has seized livestock grazing there illegally, the new environment minister announced Tuesday."
"Officials carted off 3,100 head of cattle that they said were being raised on an ecological reserve in the state of Para, in an operation intended to serve as a warning to other ranchers grazing an estimated 60,000 head on illegally deforested land in Amazonia, the environment minister, Carlos Minc, said."
"Fears have been growing over the future of the world's biggest rain forest. Though annual deforestation figures fell to a 16-year low of 4,333 square miles in 2007 - from a nine-year high of 10,571 square miles in 2004 - government agencies reported this year that deforestation was on the rise again, and cattle farmers were blamed for much of the increase."
"Mr. Minc said the cattle would be auctioned in two weeks and the proceeds go to Fome Zero, as well as to health programs for indigenous peoples and to finance cattle removal operations, the government's food program for the poor."