From One Green Planet: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/beef-production-is-killing-the-amazon-rainforest/
This is a very good and interesting article. It accurately describes and explains deforestation in Brazil due to cattle ranching, particularly in Brazil. Quote, "According to one report, an estimated 70% of deforestation in the Amazon basin can be attributed to cattle ranching."
While that's all well and good and right, I can't help but feel that they are missing the point. They are looking at a symptom and trying to attend to it, while ignoring the overlying disease. With increasing population, and the consumption we cause/face, and the waste we promote, deforestation can only continue. Greed will not change in time and our practices of consumerism and waste are not likely to subside any time soon.
I eat meat. I do not believe a vegan planet is the answer. I try to consume only sustainably-raised meat and I avoid fast food. (Not always successfully, but I sure try and do pretty well.) Sure, if we all cut back on meat like we really should, we could help this. Think about having to feed 9 billion people or more. That;s the real issue. 7 billion is already unsustainable. By all means, leave the rainforest alone. We need it. What I am saying is that if you are going to have this conversation, address the real root of it all.
We must cut back on population. That's the root of it. That's the whole thing. All these things of which we speak and talk and debate and fret - merely symptoms of the larger issue. Let's talk about that instead. It is past time to consider it taboo.