Supreme Court orders construction of a pig farm in Yucatán to stop

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Photo: Homún residents protest against the pig farm

Text by: Eduardo Murillo

La Jornada | May 20, 2021

The construction of a mega pig farm in Homún, Yucatán, will remain stopped because the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) upheld the definitive suspension of work ordered by a federal judge.

Ministers of the first hall of the highest court confirmed the suspension granted in favor of six boys and girls in the region, who filed a lawsuit against the project’s authorization.

In October 2018, upon admitting the lawsuit, Judge Miriam de Jesús Cámara Patrón, head of the fourth district court based in Merida, ordered, as a precautionary measure, suspending construction of the installations, designed to house up to 49,000 animals. [1]

The Porcine Food Production Company (PAPO, its initials in Spanish) filed an appeal for review that was unanimously dismissed yesterday by the court.

The minors who filed the lawsuit argue that the pig farm is being built with irregular permits, that the community in the municipality was not consulted and that its operation will cause grave damage to the environment.

They added that the project “threatens to pollute the water of this aquifer recharge zone, thinning the air and affecting the health of all residents of Homún,[2] whose right to free self-determination was violated, as well as the right to prior, free and informed consultation, besides the fact that it represents a threat to their way of life and the source of their income: ecotourism at the cenotes.”

The Supreme Court’s resolution implies that work on the mega pig farm will remain stopped while Judge Cámara Patrón resolves the merits of the lawsuit seeking a permanent stoppage of the project.

[1] Pig farms in the Yucatán are connected to the Maya Train mega-project. Their purpose is to produce meat for the expanded tourist industry that the Yucatán Peninsula expects the Maya Train to bring. The pig farms are also slaughterhouses, which produce toxic waste.

[2] As part of their resistance to the pig farm, residents of Homún also produced a short documentary film. The article below explains much more about their resistance to the pig farm and the making of the documentary.

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THE COURT WILL DECIDE IF IT PROTECTS CHILDREN FROM THE DAMAGES OF A PIG FARM IN HOMUN, YUCATAN

Text: Pie de Pägina Editors and Daliri Oropeza in Pie de Página

Photo: Alberto Velázquez / Archive

MEXICO CITY

This Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) will discuss whether to maintain the suspension of the pig factory belonging to the company Porcine Food Production (PAPO, its Spanish acronym), of Mexican Porcine Group (Kekén). Judge Miriam de Jesús Cámara Patrón suspended operations on October 9, 2018 based on the amparo lawsuit for protection that six boys and girls of Homún filed. It’s about a Maya town in Yucatán located in the Ring of Cenotes [1] Geo-Hydrological Reserve.

The town of Homún has struggled against the establishment of the pig factory since 2016, when that company obtained permits without consulting the residents.

The factory threatens to contaminate the water in a recognized aquifer recharge zone and thus affect the health of the population. The Mayas of Homún lived a nightmare when a pig farm was installed that would fill a municipality with what is the water reserve for Merida with pigs. The company’s bet was to take 50,000 pigs to a territory with 7,000 inhabitants

On that occasion the inhabitants of Homún had their right to self-determination violated, including the right to a prior, free and informed consultation.

The pork company’s presence means a threat to cenote ecotourism, the residents’ source of income.

The organization Indignación, which has given accompaniment to the community, enumerated the human rights violations that the pig farm has generated. Specifically, they are the right to health, water, a safe and healthy environment and to free, prior, informed and culturally adequate consent.

They emphasize that the SCJN, when ruling on the case, may set precedents on suspensions during the amparo lawsuit, on the precautionary principle in environmental matters and about the best interest of children.

The precautionary principle maintains that when grave environmental effects can be foreseen, the authorities will have to adopt measures to prevent the damage. Thus, they give an opportunity for carrying out all the necessary tests even when total certainty is lacking.

Organizations called on the SCJN to consider the technical report that specialists and organizations presented. In it, they demonstrate that the industrial confinement of pigs using waste pits and land disposal can contaminate underground water, contaminate surface waters and emit dangerous gases.

The Court, they added, must guaranty the right of childhood to grow up in a healthy environment. And that is directly related to the right to water, health and a dignified life. They warned that the Court’s decision would also impact other Maya communities that struggle against the establishment of these kinds of pig farms.

They document the struggle of the ‘Guardians of the Cenotes’ on film

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Above poster is an advertisement for the film in Spanish. There is also a poster in the local Mayan language.

The town of Homún premiered its own documentary with the story of how they beat the mega pig farm.

Ka’anan Ts’onot means Guardians of the Cenotes. That’s the name of the documentary that the community of Homún recently premiered in Yucatán; they decided to document the effort they have made to prevent the contamination and devastation of the basin and aquifer system in the southern peninsular region.

This Maya town tells its story through a documentary in order to inspire other towns to defend their territory and to invite community organization.

The community of Homún wrote the script and produced the short film. With it, the community shows what life was like before pig farms came to the area. They emphasize the importance of water in their daily life and the value to their ancestors.

In the plot, a boy goes to look for water at the cenote to cool off after having gone to harvest corn with his father. To his surprise the cenote has an important message to give him; the threat of the mega pig farms lurks and he must play an important role to protect his town.

The short film narrates the critical moments and history of struggle and resistance of the Maya community of Homún against the threat posed by the pig industry.

The guardians of the cenotes proposed the script del short film by means of assemblies. They discussed the importance of showing not only the struggle, but also their reasons.

The production of this short documentary was made through community cinema. The Non-Itinerant School of Communal and Popular Cinema First Level and the Ha de Vida Ka’anan Ts’onot project collaborated. Ha de Vida Ka’anan Ts’onot is also the name of this collective that since 2017 has fought against the imposition of the mega pig farm in their community.

In the documentary, the guardians of the cenotes warn that if the governments continue allowing these kinds of projects, all forms of life will be at risk. The community of Homún premiered it in the public plaza in front of the Ejido Commissioners on May 7. Its world premiere was Monday, May 17.

[1] Cenotes are natural sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater and are used as a water supply, especially on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/2021/05/la-corte-decidira-si-protege-a-la-infancia-de-los-danos-de-una-granja-porcicola-en-homun/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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