Yucatán’s status as one of Mexico’s large pork producers employs thousands across the state. But this is not without its problems.
According to a recent report issued by Mexico’s federal government, a great many of these pig farms do not meet even the most minimal environmental standards.
On the Peninsula, 85% of the 257 registered pig farms are in Yucatán state. Up to 400 smaller farms operate in the region without any registry or supervision.
“Pig farms are becoming a huge environmental issue for Yucatán. It is important that the federal government make use of its powers and reinstate order,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during a recent press conference.
Complaints against pig farms in Yucatán are nothing new, as communities in areas such as Homún have for years now campaigned for their closure.
“It is great that our struggle is now drawing so much support from across the country and abroad,” said environmental activist José Clemente May Echeverría.
In May, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the closure of a massive pig farm near Homún, on the grounds that its operation put locals at unacceptable levels of risk.
Large-scale factory farms are now boasting high-tech mechanisms to protect the environment, but locals insist that regardless of measures, this industry is not welcome in the area.
When it comes to pig farms the largest concern is the large amount of organic waste produced which ends up filtering down and contaminating underground water sources.
The largest pig farms in Yucatán house as many as 50,000 animals at a time that produce several times the amount of solid waste of a human being.
Farms this size produce more excrement than the entire population of Tijuana, according to Greenpeace.
Aside from health and ecological concerns, one now-defunct pig farm had come under intense scrutiny because of the risk posed to the tourism industry in rural areas that largely depend on cenotes.