Mundo Agrario (2020-04-01)

Institutions and Interest Groups: Meat Provision in Mexico City, c. 1850–1967

  • Maria-Aparecida Lopes,
  • Reynaldo de los Reyes Patiño

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 46
pp. e130 – e130


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This paper examines Mexico City’s meat supply system from the 1850s to 1967. During this period, whereas some urban centers in the Americas replaced traditional provisioning methods – abattoir system – with meatpacking companies, Mexico City continued to rely on the municipal monopoly to provide meat for the masses. This study focuses on the role that ranchers, cattle purveyors (introductores), and slaughterhouse (rastro) workers, alongside city officials, played in this process. It shows how these actors evolved accommodating to any authority in power, regardless of ideology. As interest groups, introductores, workers, and ranchers not only delivered a service to city dwellers but with varying degrees of influence, they also provided essential political support to governments. For their part, city officials protected these associations as a means of managing supplies and in the name of public order. Such a mutually beneficial relationship allowed both (interest groups and the municipality) to resist meatpacking conglomerates well into the twentieth century. The work underscores that although at occasions these arrangements facilitated meat provision, in others, they hindered the extension of animal proteins to the working poor – one of the main goals of post-revolutionary Mexico.