holy cow

Carolina Arantes

2014 - 2017


Having been – for more then a thousand year a sacred animal in Hinduism, the Zebu has it’s own cult in a lively capitalist occidental country, being admired, respected and studied on as one of the most significant commodities of the Brazilian international commerce.

Brought to Brazil in lately 19th century, it has adapted to the geography in such a way that in 2012 Brazil overtook the US and became the largest exporter of beef in the world.

The Brazilian meat market had turned US$5,5 billion on 2016 of income over 1,4 million tones of meat exported, numbers that keep growing and turns economy during these last years of crises.

The country occupies 25% of the international meat market. We can say that from each five steaks eaten in the world, one is from Brazilian origin. The rich farmers are in constant negotiations with Brazilian Government with the intention to duplicate this number until 2025. This could mean also to duplicate the numbers of animals from 200 millions to 400 millions until that date.

These figures are only possible due to the genetic development of the breed in a use of extremely controlled artificial insemination to get to the perfect animal. The origin of the seeds as well as that of the eggs is studied upstream. An animal of this type will nevertheless be a supplier of genetic material and a father of 600 mil calves destined for slaughterhouses. Some are sold for $ 1 million and are cloned to maintain its genetical value alive.

By genetical development and crossings, the rich Brazilian farmers are already preparing the next animals to be resistants to world climate change.

The project makes a panorama showing the very starting point of the Brazilian international meat business. Holy Cow is a about the Power and mystery behind the Brazilian meat industry. And aims to understand the characteristics of the Brazilian rural capitalists and the contemporary identity of those who decide the meat we will eat in the world.

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