Demand for animal feed is driving the ‘highly hazardous’ pesticide industry | Totally Vegan Buzz

Demand for animal feed is driving the ‘highly hazardous’ pesticide industry

Demand for animal feed is driving the ‘highly hazardous’ pesticide industry
Image: David Tadevosian /

A major study into the pesticides industry has revealed that crops grown for animal feed are a driving force on a market which is pouring hazardous chemicals into the food chain. 

Swiss NGO Public Eye teamed up with Greenpeace’s journalistic ventre Unearthed to analyse $23bn worth of pesticide sales data from intelligence firm Phillips McDougall.

The data revealed that a massive $9.9bn of those sales, which dated back to 2018, were on an official list of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs).

Almost half (44%) of the dangerous pesticides were used for either soy beans or maize – the vast majority of which is used to feed animals in the meat industry. 


More than half of the sales were from soy plantations in Brazil.

Professor for Geography at the University of Sao Paolo, Larissa Bombardi, told researchers at Unearthed that Brazil now has more land for soy production than the whole surface area of Germany. Brazil is expected to overtake the US as the world’s leading soy producer this year.

The use of pesticides is of concern for a number of reasons. 90% of soy grown in Brazil has been genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides to allow them to be used easily.

The soy plantations also take over land needed for wheat, cassava, rice and beans – which are staple foods for many people in the country. 


“Brazil has been importing beans for ten years. It’s crazy,” Bombardi told the publication

The dataset from Phillips McDougall covers 40% of the global pesticide industry and focuses on the world’s leading products. 

Share this article to show the world the amount of dangerous pesticides used in the meat industry.

Published by Oli Gross

Oli’s career and personal ethical values both help shape his reporting of the diverse world of veganism. His background is in local newspaper and magazine journalism, and his work has included reporting court cases, celebrity interviews, business analysis, food and drink features and government legislation.



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