Op-ed

Mexico could pass a law improving the lives of millions of farmed animals

In Mexico, the lives of millions of farmed animals could potentially change for the better if a new law that aims to protect them is approved.

On 4th March, Animal Equality proposed a new farmed animal bill in the state of Jalisco, in Mexico, where over 200 million farmed animals are raised and killed for food every year. The legislation seeks to include animals raised for food in the state’s current animal protection law and would add many meaningful protections for them. The bill was created in collaboration with Claudia Murguía Torres, a member of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, and if approved, would impact tens of millions of animals, including over 216 million chickens.

A cow in a slaughterhouse
Together, we can make a difference for animals used for food © Animal Equality

Much needed change proposed in Mexico

Among many new provisions, the bill would create minimum standards for eggs to be labeled as “cage-free”, such as ensuring that chickens have enough space to access food and water and move around naturally. The bill would also mandate that painful mutilations include dehorning, castration and tail cropping, which are commonplace in the global meat industry, would be performed only by trained personnel under veterinary supervision.

In addition, if passed, the legislation would prohibit forced molting, a common meat industry practice that causes hens to molt (shed their feathers and grow new ones) simultaneously and results in larger eggs. This is done by intentionally stressing the birds by depriving them of food and water for extended periods of time.

Jalisco without cruelty

The proposal comes almost two years after Animal Equality’s team in Mexico helped pass Jalisco Without Cruelty, a law that makes cruelty to farmed animals a crime punishable by up to four years in prison. Following its historic adoption in April 2019, the legislation also prevents those found guilty of working with farmed animals for three years and in the case of a repeat crime, bars abusers from working with animals ever again. This became the first time that animals killed for food were protected by Mexico’s laws.

A pig farm in Mexico
Through the use of surveillance technology, all areas of the city of Naulcalpan’s slaughterhouses will be monitored, ensuring animal welfare protocols will be followed © Animal Equality

Reforms across Mexico

Animal Equality’s work in Mexico extends to other parts of the country, including a national proposal to the Senate brought in April 2020. In an effort to eliminate an immediate threat to public health, Animal Equality worked alongside Senator Jesusa Rodriguez to submit a legislative initiative that would ban illegal slaughterhouses and live animal markets. These operations are notorious for disregarding sanitation protocols that ensure food safety and therefore represent an epidemiological risk for the spread of diseases, in addition to animals being subject to extreme abuse within them.

A goat in Mexico
Animal Equality’s work extends all over Mexico © Animal Equality

More firsts

Thanks to Animal Equality’s Jalisco Without Cruelty campaign, Zapopan became the first city in Mexico to legally protect farmed animals by criminalising farmed animal cruelty with reforms passed in July 2020. These new regulations protect all animal species and include criminal punishment for the failure to stun animals prior to slaughter, as well as for animal mutilation or veterinary negligence.

In December 2020, Naucalpan, in the state of Mexico, became the first city in the country to add cameras to its slaughterhouses. The regulation was made possible thanks to the work of Animal Equality and city councillor Angélica del Valle Mota. Through the use of surveillance technology, all areas of the city’s slaughterhouses will be monitored, ensuring animal welfare protocols are followed and documented if they’re not. The law also establishes that these facilities must comply with official Mexican standards and induce animals into a state of unconsciousness prior to death.

Environmental pollution exposed in Mexico

In August 2020, Animal Equality released a short documentary, Enemy of the Planet, which investigates pollution caused by Mexico’s factory farms. The film was produced using drones that flew over two industrial pig farms in Jalisco housing more than 89,000 pigs. Reports obtained during the investigation revealed the magnitude of the risks and environmental damage caused by these industrial livestock farms — which don’t report the amount of pollution they emit into the surroundings and atmosphere. In addition, discrepancies were found in the reporting of water consumption and waste management, as well as a lack of clarity on what permits the farms had and how they were reporting and paying fees.

Much more work to do

These successes in Mexico should be celebrated as they’re making a difference for millions of farmed animals every single day. However, this is only the beginning. “We’re so grateful for the achievements of our team in Mexico, as well as the excellent leadership of Dulce Ramirez, Animal Equality’s Executive Director in the country, but there’s still so much more work that needs to be done to ensure animals are no longer exploited for our broken food system,” says Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff and volunteers, as well as the assistance from sympathetic politicians, I’m confident that the progress we’ve made will continue in the country and beyond.”

This bill would impact tens of millions of animals including over 216 million chickens
The bill proposed in Jalisco would impact tens of millions of animals, including over 216 million chickens © Animal Equality

Together, we can make a difference for animals used for food. With your help promoting this work and compassionate consumer choices, we can create a world where all animals are respected and protected. To learn more about how you can change the lives of animals through easy online actions, please consider becoming an Animal Protector. The animals will thank you for your support.

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