Big cat stalks Tesco HQ and prowls supermarket’s London stores as major investigation exposes retailer’s link to deforestation in Brazil


This morning, staff and customers at Tesco’s Hackney branch in London were greeted by a life-size animatronic jaguar, roaring from the roof of what appeared to be a Tesco delivery van.

Earlier this week, the jaguar appeared at branches in Lewisham, Old Kent Road, Kennington, Stevenage and Sevenoaks. The jaguar has also visited stores in Hertfordshire, Kent and Essex. Meanwhile, footage was also captured of the animated jaguar from Greenpeace UK’s new film ‘Monster’ stalking the buildings of Tesco’s HQ in Welwyn Garden City as well as a large superstore in Weybridge, Surrey.

The activities have been organised by Greenpeace to raise awareness of the supermarket’s part in the destruction of forests like the Amazon. A major investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Greenpeace Unearthed released yesterday has linked retailers including Tesco, Asda, Lidl, McDonalds and Nando’s to fires on farmland in the Brazilian Cerrado.

The jaguar, built by Millenium FX alongside award-winning puppetry consultant Mikey Brett (Warhorse), emerged from the top of the van surrounded by forest foliage. Flames engulfed Tesco’s strapline on the sides of the van, which had been subverted to read ‘Every little harms’.

The guerilla projection was created by Greenpeace with POW, who worked with activists to project ‘Black Lives Matter’ onto the Houses Of Parliament this summer. This time, POW projected the animated jaguar from Greenpeace UK’s latest film Monster roaring (sound design by Annie May Fletcher) and prowling across Tesco’s HQ, as well as a superstore in Weybridge, Surrey. Messaging read ‘Stop selling industrial meat destroying jaguars’ forests’. Another projection at Tesco’s HQ showed forest fire flames engulfing the building subverted strapline ‘Every little harms’ with a claw scratch across Tesco’s signage.

Industrial meat and dairy production is the biggest driver of global deforestation and each year forests are felled and fires are deliberately set across Brazil to clear land for cattle ranches and to grow crops like soya – the vast majority of which is used in animal feed for industrially produced meat.

Tesco sells more soya-fed meat than any other UK supermarket, much of it produced by companies owned by known forest destroyer, JBS. The supermarket promised to end deforestation in its supply chain by 2020 but in 2018 it quietly changed that goal to 2025 and still has not published a credible plan to show how it will be achieved.

Devastating fires raged across Brazil this year consuming an area of land the size of the UK in places like the Amazon rainforest, Pantanal wetlands and Cerrado savannah. These habitats are vital for threatened jaguar populations, globally important in the fight against climate change and, ever more crucially, key to keeping new, potentially deadly viruses contained.

Last week, the UK Government announced a new ‘due diligence’ law designed to curb deforestation in the UK supply chain. But the new law will only tackle deforestation deemed illegal in the country of origin rather than all deforestation. This will allow UK companies to continue buying from those operating in countries like Brazil where the Bolsonaro government is systematically dismantling forest protection, rather than finally forcing retailers to end all deforestation in the food system as they promised ten years ago.

Elena Polisano, Greenpeace UK Forests campaigner, said
“Tesco sells huge volumes of industrial meat that’s fuelling deforestation and they’re trying to hide it behind the government’s new toothless law that will let them continue business as usual. It’s wreaking havoc on forests’ unique wildlife, on Indigenous Peoples and on the health of our planet.

Tesco have a moral obligation to stop selling products that are trashing forests. That’s why we’ve brought this jaguar here today – to send the message that by dropping forest destroyers and replacing half the meat on their shelves with healthy plant-based options, Tesco’s new chief exec could lead the way in the fight against climate change, biodiversity loss and the emergence of deadly new viruses.

“Forests like the Amazon are already facing a tipping point – there’s no time to waste.”

Tesco knows the new law isn’t strong enough – it was part of a group of companies that wrote to the Government during the consultation period asking for it to be strengthened. And yet the supermarket still welcomed the law last week.

Other UK supermarkets and fast food companies guilty of churning out the industrial meat that’s fueling deforestation include Sainsburys, Asda, Burger King, KFC and McDonald’s. But as the biggest by far, Tesco must lead the way.

All rules relating to Covid-19 gathering and social distancing have been adhered to throughout the planning and execution of this activity.