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Activists protest Cargill's influence

Jan. 23, 2012 at 8:26 AM

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Agricultural company Cargill is fully aware that its business practices contribute to the destruction of rainforests, activists said from Minneapolis.

Activists with environmental advocacy group Rainforest Action Network demonstrated in front of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange to protest Cargill's political influence in the United States.

Protesters said Cargill was responsible not only for the destruction of rainforests in countries like Indonesia but its practices contribute to what Rainforest Action Network described as slave labor.

"Cargill has known for many years that its practices are contributing to abuses that include slave labor and rainforest destruction but the company stubbornly continues to operate without basic safeguards that could prevent these violations," RAN campaigner Ashley Schaeffer said in a statement.

RAN notes that Cargill's annual revenue is larger than 70 percent of the world's countries. RAN said this gives the U.S. business unrivaled political heft because of a 2010 decision that allows corporations to spend more on political campaigns.

Cargill had no public statement regarding the Minneapolis protest. The company on its Web site said it forms partnerships that "identify and encourage the adoption of responsible and sustainable practices in our supply chains."

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