Beginning in 2003, citizens of the canton Santo Domingo de los Colorados complained to national government ministries about water, air, and soil contamination produced by a large-scale pork processing plant owned by the agroindustrial company PRONACA. After government administrative actions did not solve the problem, in 2009 claimants filed a lawsuit for protective action, requesting a stoppage of 6 new biodigestor machines that PRONACA was installing to process the release of methane gas caused by intensive pig farming. While the lawsuit noted the negative impacts on flora, fauna, and aquatic systems, it did not invoke RoN. Rather, claimants argued that PRONACA’s actions violated their constitutional rights to Health and a Safe and Clean Environment. It was the judge who applied RoN in the case. The judge considered Nature as one of the affected parties in the case, and looked at violations of the rights of Nature as established in the Ecuadorian constitution, as well as the human rights of health and enjoying a healthy environment.
The Constitutional Court heard the case in 2009. The judge ruled against the proposed protections and stoppage of the biodigestors. However, the judge ruled that the case involved potential violations of the rights of nature that needed to be protected. Invoking Articles 71-72 of the constitution, the judge ordered the creation of a commission to audit and monitor the biodigestors to ensure that the rights of nature, citizens, and communities would be protected. The ruling is significant in that the court acknowledged its right to invoke constitutional articles regarding Rights of Nature even when claimants did not specifically indicate such rights.