Universities across the UK are being pressured to ban beef in a bid to tackle deforestation - as the Amazon continues to burn at a record pace.

Animal-welfare organization Moving Animals has written to more than 100 universities calling for a total ban on the sale of beef products - stating that raising cattle to produce beef accounts for '80 percent of the current deforestation'. 

The group has also created an online petition, urging institutions to follow in the footsteps of Goldsmith's University - who recently removed beef from its cafes.  

'We must move away from consuming beef' (Photo: Moving Animals)

'We must move away from consuming beef' (Photo: Moving Animals)

'Horrific deforestation'

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Co-founder of Moving Animals, Paul Healey, said: "Beef is one of the most destructive foods for our planet - and claims the lives of millions of cows every year. Just this month the UN declared that we must move away from consuming beef and instead adopt more plant-based diets if we are to fight climate catastrophe.

"It's clear more than ever that institutions must act now. Universities continue to have a major role in implementing policies and influencing public thought, and so to demand change, we're calling on them to lead the way and #BanBeef to fight this horrific deforestation of our planet."

Ane Alencar, Scientific Director of the Brazilian Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia added: "These are not wildfires, but rather fires set by people seeking to create cattle ranches, intentionally ignited during the dry season each year. They cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it so that the ashes can fertilize the soil."

You can sign the petition here