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INVESTIGATION: Animal Equality Exposes Environmental Pollution from Mexico’s Industrial Farming

August 6, 2020

Utilizing drone footage, Animal Equality has released an investigation denouncing the serious environmental risks caused by pig farms in Mexico. 

BACKGROUND: Industrial animal farming has had a devastating impact on the planet and human health, as well as been extremely cruel to animals. Most scientists agree that the greatest threat humanity faces today is climate change, and our current food production system is helping to accelerate potentially catastrophic environmental changes. For example, it is estimated that the process of animal farming contributes to around 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Animal agriculture also is a serious threat to public health, with numerous diseases originating from its practice. These diseases include the swine flu pandemic of 2009 and most recently, COVID-19, which scientists believe originated from a live animal market in China

THE DETAILS: Given the urgency to stop these risks, Animal Equality has released the short documentary, Enemy of the Planet. The investigative film was produced using drones that flew over two industrial pig farms in Jalisco, Mexico that house more than 89,000 pigs. The goal of the investigation is to publicize the damage caused by industrial livestock farming.

Thanks to reports obtained during this investigation, we were able to expose the magnitude of the risks and environmental damage caused by these industrial livestock farms—farms that do not report the amount of pollution that they emit into the atmosphere and surrounding grounds. In addition, we found discrepancies in the reporting of water consumption and waste management, as well as the lack of clarity on what permits the farms have and who is verifying how they are reporting and paying fees. 

WATER IS A FINITE RESOURCE: Water is an essential natural resource for human life, and to produce a pound of meat from a pig, 1,500 gallons of drinking water are needed. In national figures, raising pigs for human consumption represents the use of 4% of all renewable drinking water in Mexico. Along with using millions of gallons of water, the animal farming industry also pollutes it. Poor management and the lack of treatment of animal feces and urine are major factors in soil and water contamination and a source of infectious disease for humans.

BREEDING GROUND FOR DISEASE: The ponds next to the sheds where the pigs are housed are constantly polluted by excrement—producing greenhouse gases from the pigs’ urine and feces in the process—and are a perfect breeding ground for animal-borne diseases. There can be more than 100 different pathogens found in 0.3 ounces of pig excrement, bacteria that can cause illnesses to humans. This unchecked threat of disease is one of the reasons why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. 

EXTREME CRUELTY: As if these environmental damages and health risks were not enough, the conditions in which farmed animals live on these intensive farms are terribly abusive. As our investigations have shown, animals on these farms suffer greatly, with unrelenting pain and illness accompanying them throughout their short lives, which end in brutal slaughter.

COMPLAINTS FILED: As part of this investigation, Animal Equality in Mexico levied four complaints against these farms for acts and omissions that could produce ecological imbalance and environmental damage in the region. We are requesting the permanent closure of these facilities, as well as the revocation of permits, licenses, and authorizations of their operation. We are also seeking the repairs of damages made to the surrounding environment. 

WHAT WE’RE SAYING: “Industrial livestock farming devastates everything in its path, contaminating soil and water, and creating greenhouse gas emissions that can have a potentially irreversible impact on our planet. The practice has also proven to cause disease outbreaks and great suffering to animals. Now is the time to stop these risks! ” Dulce Ramírez, Executive Director of Animal Equality Mexico

WHAT YOU CAN DO: All industrial animal farms must be shut down, and the abuses, destruction, and danger they create must end. With your help, we can stop the greatest enemy of our planet. Help protect our planet, our future, and millions of animals. Leave animal products off your plate.


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