Mexico’s Supreme Court orders the closure of a controversial and massive pig farm near Homún, Yucatán.
The court found that the pig farm was causing unacceptable levels of pollution and risked catastrophic damage to the region’s water supply.
The decision comes as a major victory for several local organizations which have been lobbying against the farm owned by Producción Alimentaria Porcícola, or PAPO.
“This ruling is a big win for Homún; it protects the health of our children and environment,” said the indigenous organization, Kanan ts’ono’ot.
If allowed to reach its maximum capacity, the farm would have raised 50,000 animals, each producing several times the amount of solid waste of a human being.
Because the land in Yucatán is so porous, swine waste often makes its way to the water table before it has had a chance to break down.
Aside from health and ecological concerns, the now-defunct pig farm had come under intense scrutiny because of the risk posed to the local tourism industry.
The area surrounding Homún is well known to locals and tourists alike for its high concentration of cenotes.
A cenote is a natural geological formation fed by water that flows from underground rivers. They are popular for swimming with tourists, and an important source of drinking water for many communities across Yucatán.
Although the factory farm was approved by the state, and high-tech mechanisms to protect the environment had been promised, locals insist that pig farms and tourism do not mix.
But the farm is far from the only pork producer in the region. Over the past 10 years, Yucatán has become one of the largest pork producers in Mexico.
On the Yucatán Peninsula, there are 257 registered pig farms, 85% of which are located in Yucatán state. However, up to 400 smaller farms operate in the region without any registry or supervision.
The company responsible for the facility says that they will appeal the decision and prove that their operation can be made safe for the community and environment.