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Mexico City Outlaws ‘Backyard’ Slaughterhouses

The move by Mexico City is the latest in a string of legal initiatives happening across Mexico to better protect farmed animals from abuse and neglect.
17/02/2023 Updated: 04/05/2023

On 2nd February, the Congress of Mexico City passed legislation promoted by Animal Equality to outlaw ‘clandestine’ or ‘backyard’ slaughterhouses. These are slaughterhouses which are not approved and operate unofficially or in secrecy.

Since 2016, Animal Equality has investigated over 34 slaughterhouses in Mexico, finding animal abuse, unsanitary conditions and non-compliance with food safety. This is the most extensive investigation of slaughterhouses in the country, conducted across thirteen states.

In a 2021 investigation, Animal Equality released images and footage captured inside the Tizayuca Regional Municipal slaughterhouse in the state of Hidalgo. The images showed workers hitting pigs with rods and kicking them.

Pigs were rarely stunned before slaughter, meaning they were conscious when their throats were slit. Some pigs were seen being slaughtered in clear view of other pigs.

The footage also showed pigs being lifted by one of their limbs and held in this position for almost a minute. The pigs weighed more than 100 kilos so this would have caused serious pain. Some pigs even remained conscious as they were thrown into a tank full of scalding water.

This is just one of the many investigations carried out by Animal Equality in Mexico over the last seven years.

Farmed animals have very few legal protections in Mexico. Millions of cows, pigs and chickens face abuse and neglect from workers and meat companies across Mexico and the authorities have done little to hold them accountable.

Mexico City campaigners call for an end to clandestine slaughterhouses.

Animal Equality is campaigning for new laws which hold meat companies and farm workers accountable for abuse and neglect and eliminate some of the worst forms of cruelty for millions of cows, pigs and chickens across the country. 

Working with other animal protection organisations, progress is being made in states across the country and on a national level. The latest change has been made in Mexico City.

Following campaign efforts by Animal Equality, operators of backyard slaughterhouses in Mexico City will now be subject to a fine and up to 2-4 years in prison. The proposed legislation passed with 51 votes in favour, 2 against and 0 abstentions.

This is undoubtedly progress in favour of animals of the utmost importance, which will lay the foundations and be an example for the entire country. This reform to the Code supports the idea that animals are sentient beings and we have obligations towards them.

Dulce Ramírez, Animal Equality Vice-President of Latin America

Initiative Presented in the State of Veracruz to Protect Animals in Law

On 26th January, Animal Equality attended a session in the Congress of the State of Veracruz to help propose an initiative that would include farmed animals in the state’s animal protection laws.

The legislation was presented by Deputy Tania María Cruz Mejía, a member of the Legislative Group of the Green Ecologist Party in Mexico, and is supported by fellow animal protection organisations, such as the Coalition of Activists for Animal Rights in the State of Veracruz. 

In Veracruz, nearly 250 million animals are raised for human consumption each year without any type of legal protection – the majority are chickens and hens. The initiative seeks to regulate farms and prevent some of the cruellest practices including the use of cages on egg farms.

Dulce Ramírez, Animal Equality’s Vice-President of Latin America, with Deputy Tania Maria Cruz Mejia

The initiative also includes new standards for other animals, including the provision of sufficient food and water, a secure and hygienic space, access to light and darkness, and environmental enrichment.

The initiative also proposes that a number of acts of cruelty be made illegal, including:

  • Fracturing animals’ limbs.
  • Throwing animals into boiling water.
  • Killing animals without prior stunning.
  • Moving animals by using sharp objects, electric shock, or other methods that cause injury and pain.

Following its reading, more than 30 deputies asked to join the initiative, representing a majority in favour of its approval.

If passed, Veracruz will follow in the footsteps of Hidalgo, which dedicated an entire chapter of law to protect farmed animals following intensive campaigning by Animal Equality. This aims to prevent some of the cruellest practices for nearly 50 million cows, pigs and chickens in Hidalgo every year.

Constitutional Changes to Give Congress Power To Protect Animals

In December 2022, Animal Equality – with Federal Deputy Fausto Gallardo García of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico – presented an initiative to modify Article 73 of the Mexican Constitution. The change would give Congress the power to legislate on animal welfare issues. This is a first and crucial step towards creating a General Law of Animal Welfare in Mexico. 

On 25th January, the initiative was approved by the Constitutional Points Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and now awaits final steps in the Plenary of the Chamber.

How You Can Help Animals

You can help animals today by choosing plant-based alternatives and leaving meat off your plate. By boycotting the cruel meat industry, we can spare animals from a lifetime of misery.

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As a consumer, you hold the power to protect animals from the meat industry. Every plant-based meal saves animals from a life of misery in factory farms and slaughterhouses. 

Animal Equality’s investigators bravely venture into factory farms and slaughterhouses in the UK and around the world to gather the evidence needed to fight animal cruelty and neglect.

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