Mayan Community Successfully Halts Construction of Chicken Farm

This month, a federal judge ordered that Bachoco—a large poultry producer in Mexico—halt construction on a new chicken farm. 

A lawsuit led by a Mayan woman with support from the organization Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Project argues that the company failed to gain consent from communities the farm would impact. Neighboring communities of Mayans and small farmers were reportedly given no information about the potential impacts a new chicken farm could have on human health and the environment. 

In her ruling, the judge concluded that the chicken farm presented real risks to the Indigenous Mayan communities living nearby. A legal advisor shared:

In addition to the protection of indigenous communities, [the decision] is based on the best standards of environmental protection since it identifies nature as an autonomous legal good that must be protected [because of] its importance for every living being, not just for humans.

The Mayan communities are right to be concerned. Factory farms pollute the environment, posing serious issues of public health and environmental justice for nearby residents. Nitrogen and phosphorus from poultry farm waste pollute rivers and streams, causing algae blooms that starve the water of oxygen and lead to massive fish kills. In addition, the huge amounts of waste generated at factory farms bring insects that plague local residents.

David Shane Lowry, an associate professor of anthropology at Biola University and a member of the Lumbee tribe, stated:

Chicken farms and corporate husbandry operations and also, if I can include this, oil pipelines—all of these things are not equally dispersed between all settler communities. They actually continue to be pushed into and on top of indigenous Native American communities.

By choosing equitably produced plant-based foods, we can stand up for vulnerable communities, as well as spare countless animals a lifetime of misery. Learn more about plant-based eating by downloading our FREE How to Eat Veg guide today.