Take Action! Ukiah Valley Slaughterhouse Update…


sHorse Slaughterhouses

From RON EPSTEIN and JAN ALLEGRETTI

If you are genuinely concerned about the prospect of a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, and have time and energy to devote, please come to our meeting Saturday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the MEC.

As you may know, there’s a very active ongoing effort to build a slaughterhouse in Ukiah. The Economic Development Corporation (EDFC) is spearheading the effort, and we’ve heard that at least one wealthy investor has expressed an interest in financing the facility. We’d like to update you on what we know and what we’ve heard—you’ll find the details below.

Also, we’re planning a meeting of people who have concerns about this effort—those who do not want any slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, as well as those who want to put restrictions on its location, size, economic, environmental, public health, and social impacts. If you are one of those people, and have time and energy to contribute over the coming months—or longer—please consider attending. If you can’t attend, please contact us by return email to let us know how you’d like to be involved.

The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the Mendocino Environmental Center, 116 West Standley Street, in Ukiah. We’ll share the latest info about what’s happening so far, and brainstorm ideas about what steps we can take. At the very least we’ll need to research what impact (economic, environmental, public health, social, etc.) the slaughterhouse would have on our community, bring that information to the community at large, and organize those who have concerns to make sure their voices are heard. If you’re willing to be part of that effort, we need to hear from you. Please understand that this meeting is for those who wish to be actively involved in working on this project. We have an urgent need for leadership and involvement; we’re also in need of persons with legal expertise who can help us explore the legal requirements to build a facility and our legal options for restricting or preventing it. Whatever your skills may be, if you don’t wish to see a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley or have serious concerns about the current proposal, and have the interest and ability to work with others who share your views, please let us hear from you.

Here’s what’s happening so far.

  • EDFC commissioned a feasibility study, paid for by federal grant money, to develop a proposal to build a slaughterhouse in Mendocino County. The study concluded that the facility should be built in Ukiah to make use of city power and waste treatment services.
  • The study is based on a facility that would initially kill 1500 “animal units” per year, or 30 per week. An “animal unit” is defined as 1 cow, 2 hogs, or 3 goats or sheep. Many, including EDFC, expect that the facility would in time expand so that it kills more animals per year or week—there’s no way of knowing how many that would ultimately be.
  • EDFC held a public meeting in September to present its proposal and to hear questions and concerns from the community. About 70 people attended the meeting, including ranchers, residents of Ukiah, supporters of the proposal, and people who do not support it.
    • EDFC recently posted its responses to questions raised at that meeting. You can view those responses on the EDFC website at http://www.edfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/EDFC-Meat-Studies-Q-and-A-2013-11.pdf .
    • According to EDFC, the next step is to find an entrepreneur who wants to be in the slaughterhouse business, or an investor who wishes to fund it. The feasibility study outlines several options for funding the slaughterhouse, including low-interest federal loans or a coalition of several small investors. The report indicates that several small ranchers have expressed in interest in investing, and EDFC has suggested it may provide financing. And of course, there is the possibility that a single moneyed investor will come forward with an interest in financing the operation.
    • It appears that before a facility could be built, it would need approval from the planning commission, and possibly an EIR. We are unclear about the legal issues involved, so we need a qualified person or persons to research them.
    • We’ve been told that if the matter comes before the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors or the Ukiah City Council, there are currently enough votes in place to approve the proposal as it stands. We’ve also been told that a very strong outcry from a very large number of residents could possibly sway those votes—but that it would take large numbers of people expressing opposition to do so.
    • This is why we feel it’s important to begin organizing now. We believe there are indeed large numbers of people who, for any number of reasons, do not wish to have a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley or who are concerned about its nature and scope. If in fact that’s the case, the sooner we make our voices heard, the sooner those who will decide how and whether or not it happens will be made aware of our concerns—and hopefully will realize that a large proportion of their constituency is concerned.
    • Equally important is that Ukiah valley residents deserve a complete, accurate picture of what a slaughterhouse would mean to our community. EDFC has not provided that—and is not likely to. It is our opinion that, although EDFC is a public entity charged with working on behalf of the community as a whole, in this matter they have chosen to aggressively promote the proposal to build a slaughterhouse without studying the potential negative impacts on the community, without sincere regard for the concerns of community members who oppose the proposal, and without hearing from knowledgeable persons within the community—including at least one rancher and a former member of the meatpacking industry—who have concerns about the viability of the proposed facility. Therefore, with EDFC presenting a decidedly one-sided perspective on the issue—and using its status to wage a very visible public campaign—there is a need for those of us who have concerns to bring “the other side of the story” to the awareness of the community at large, so that those whose daily lives and homes will be directly impacted by the facility will have a clearer understanding of what that impact might be.

And so, we’d like to ask you to do one or all of 3 things:

1. Stay tuned in to what’s happening on this issue. Watch for updates from EDFC, and for emails and announcements from CARE and CAUS. Stay informed about the facts at hand. Remember that any new type of industry—especially one that has complex economic, environmental, public health, and social impacts—inevitably has negative as well as positive implications. Be sure to examine any and all announcements with a critical eye, so you’ll understand both sides of the issue.

2. Share your views and your concerns with others—friends, neighbors, and certainly with members of the Board of Supervisors and the Ukiah City Council. Please rely on fact-based statements to support your views.

3. If you are genuinely concerned about the prospect of a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, and have time and energy to devote, please come to our meeting Saturday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the MEC. If you can’t come, let us know how you would like to help by replying to this email.

Thank you for your interest and attention.

Ron Epstein, Citizens Against a Ukiah Valley Slaughterhouse (CAUS)

Jan Allegretti, CARE: Compassion for Animals, Respect for the Earth
~~

21 Comments

I would like to know more from both sides on the issue. I am not a vegetarian and I raise, kill, and eat my own chickens. (I do not raise meat for sale.) I also try to buy locally pastured meat for my table. I am under the impression (and concede I may be incorrect, so please educate me), that USDA approved facilities are far out of the county, so local ranchers have to travel long distances with their livestock to have their animals slaughtered and the meat packaged for sale.

If we are to be locally more self-sustaining, shouldn’t we have a facility somewhere in our own county that can perform this service? Unless we all give up eating meat, that is. If it is done locally, can’t we better ensure it is done as neatly and cleanly as possible, with the animals treated as well as possible before they are killed to provide food for the portion of our population who does consume meat? If we have a local facility, perhaps we are in the position of making sure it is done “better” than it would be done elsewhere.

I do have an issue with the photo. It show horses being led to slaughter and is obviously meant to appeal to the readers’ emotions. But that scene would never occur in a Ukiah slaughterhouse, as it is illegal to kill horses for meat in California, isn’t it?

I’m sure there are plenty of valid points on the “We don’t want a slaughterhouse” side of the argument that can be presented, without using a photo of something that is inaccurate for this particular issue and is clearly meant to inflame.

Thank you. I will be following the comments to learn more about both sides of this issue.

    Hi Pat,

    Click on the Horse Slaughterhouses label and you will see that horse slaughter is becoming legal in the U.S. http://www.krqe.com/news/local/horse-slaughterhouse-may-soon-open

    Dave

      Thank you, Dave. I thought that prop 6 back in 1998 made slaughtering horses for food illegal in California, despite any legality in the rest of the country. I see from the linked article that the ban on horse slaughter nationally has been lifted, but I believe our state ban on horse meat should remain remain in effect due to the passage of 6.

      Hope all is well with you, and I miss Mulligan’s. Take care.

    Oh yeah..soooo much better that the suffering is Cow and Pigs and not just horses.

    I can only hope you get sentenced to a few years working in such a place.

    Hell on earth dos not describe this evil.

      Dear Tom,

      I am assuming, condescendingly I know, that you are unaware of how you come across in this comment. Most of us suffer from this from time to time and it is the responsibility of friends to focus our attention on our errors. Your error is so common as to have passed into normative standards of interaction. Personal attacks, including most certainly wishing bad things for people we do not understand and, superficially, shallowly disagree with. We all fall for the trap of ad hominem attacks, especially as children. The exact effect of allowing such hurtful speech is to retard dialog and, consequently, furthering the aims of those who really do mean us harm. This is one of the positive roles for moderation. Without this feature moderation slides into its cousin, censorship.

      y

      I don’t believe Tom’s comment was any type of personal attack ybera. I think it is an honest response that anyone who wants a Slaughterhouse in Ukiah should be willing to work there for a day and see just how “humane” and sunshine & rainbows it is to kill innocent living beings – far far from it.

      Perhaps an elbow jab, but to accuse people of racism is fight’n words that just end up destroying the equanimity that dialog needs. Jab away at me all you like, BTW, enjoy the opportunity to deal with radical honesty. But I will defend others without request because I believe it leads to a gentler discussion.

      y

I’m interested in knowing why a horse being slaughtered brings emotions different than a photo of a cow, pig, sheep, chicken, fish, etc would. All life is precious, humans need to wake up and stop killing. A slaughterhouse would be the worst thing for Ukiah, People are living in dreamland if they think this will be a tiny facility to kill only a few animals a year. This is just a way for them to get started and eventually slaughter hundreds or thousands of animals a year to feed peoples desires for another imaginary product – “humane meat”

Keeping and raising other mammals in large herds as food and as wealth on the hoof was probably the the turning point for our species. This activity fostered a whole host of social ills that came with the herdsman relational model. We essentially mapped on to our plastic selves the social model of horses as our default set of relationships. The importance of male dominance enforced by violent displays, the treatment of women and children as property, the stealing of other people to add to our herd as slaves, the need to have always bigger treasure, bigger herds, the necessity of conquest of new territory as we overgraze, exhaust the resources of where we are at – all of it – came exploding into the world with the first invaders from the horse friendly East, a preliterate nomadic culture that swooped down on a peaceful indigenous culture and displaced it, called arbitrarily by archeologist The Kurgan. Successive waves of Indo-European horse and chariot using invaders eventually exterminated indigenous cultures everywhere in Europe (with the sole exception of the Basque). Similar issues exist in Asia. Sites examined prior to the date of invasion in a given area showing peaceful human habitation with markers of egalitarian social organization and afterward male dominated inequality and generalized violence. Where village sites prior to invasion of the Indo-Europeans are found in desirable sites, afterwards village sites are found in defensible sites, hilltops, etc. The transformation to the current dominant violent male dominated cultures took thousands of years, but was essentially complete by 2000 BC. Humans lived successfully for thousands of millennia with little interpersonal violence. For the last four millennia it has been continuous violence and destruction. To continue with a social organization of the horse will mean the extinction of our, and countless other related species. We are being horse’s asses on drugs and alcohol. Like Pogo said, we have met the enemy and they are us. We find the courage to stop this crap or die a deserved death in extinction.

ybera

At this point in history I can’t say whether it would be harder for people to stop eating meat or stop driving cars, but neither behavior shows any sign of being abandoned. So far no slaughterhouses or oil fields in MendoCo, but that doesn’t prevent our avid consumption of the end-products.

    Good thing that the real issue is not driving cars, or fighting against slaughter houses or any of the the other seemingly infinite list of intolerable situations individuals and groups organize to defeat. By now alert people may have noticed that issue organization has had a good run, did a lot of good in the past, but is now just an ignoble fighting retreat on all fronts. It is sad really, but also an opportunity to reassess our thinking. Maybe we should just hold a wake for corrupt politics as usual and start something new. Like Einstein said we should stop doing the same thing over and over again and keep expecting different results. Once we coming together and start thinking about and experimenting with what might work and have a positive local impact. This is how things go viral. Apes learn by watching others solve problems. Communities advance by learning about and reinventing for local use solutions other communities have discovered. This is the way that big changes seem to come on the national and world stage as a surprise. History does not record the earliest stages of massive change. It is deaf to the ordinary person.

    In a sense the wrap around surveillance that we all know that we all experience has forced a thoughtful, QUIET reflection for many people formerly dedicated to issue oriented organizing. Wrap around surveillance means that any successful issue organization will be infiltrated and turned to the uses of the few in their relentless drive to dispossess the many. No matter how high tech the methods, the conundrum remains the same down through history. How can so few succeed in dispossessing and enslaving the many? The answer seems to be that the few organize horizontally, they take care of each other, and the many organize vertically, caring about “issues” and largely, libertarian style, leave each other to whatever cruel measure of fate awaits us. The embarrassing failure of “representative democracy” (this is a phrase bordering on oxymoronic status) is obvious around the world outside of the US, even in our mass media propagandaverse. When you expunge mass media propaganda from your thinking, the US is revealed to be the leader in this embarrassing race to ubiquitous tyranny.

    We suffer because, unlike our masters, we refuse to band together to seek justice for everyone all the time. Just because people are unaware of the fact, an injury to one is still an injury to all. We still must be our brother’s keeper.

    Think justice and truth (inseparable concepts) locally and, in coming together to address local injustice and neglect, learn to act in concert with other successful local direct democratic structures on regional and then global needs. Real global problems (so much propaganda chaff in the air making it very hard to discern what these might be right now) can all be reduced to the cumulative injustices experienced locally under different guises.

    Coming together and forcing each other to think is the missing ingredient to a better future. People have become so used to avoiding the three big topics, sex, religion and politics, that learning to think about concrete, local problems and devising realistic solutions must begin with the simplest of goals and build on that by learning to dialog openly and truthfully. Watch toddlers teach themselves to walk. First they master crawling, then falling and finally walking. The reality is that the major work was done in the falling phase, carefully recreating safe falls before daring to let go of the hand holds. We want to think of ourselves as somehow ready for political running when nowhere do we see progress made with simple political walking tasks. Sometimes crawling to make amends in distressed relationships and making them healthy and ready for walking is the first barrier. Fantasies of personal power take us away from the reality of our political ineptitude of the most basic sort. Choose reality and learn not to believe everything you currently think.

    ybera

Just wondering how much more bad JUJU Mendo folks are willing to take on?
Slaughterhouse…..?? Give us a freaking break.
We’re talking uber bad Karma here.

What the hell is wrong with you people.
Ever been to a SH? It’s 100% mexican labor.. always.

The first voice I would like to hear from is those small local farmers who have to have their animals slaughtered elsewhere at inflated prices that translate into failed Farmer’s Market activity. If folks could restrain themselves from an apparent compulsion to display their virtuous ideological beliefs a space might be created where understanding replaces mindless pro and con positions.

y

    The alternative to a slaughterhouse in a population center is one or several (slaughter trailers) decentralized on the farms themselves.

      Are you suggesting unregulated slaughter, slaughter on the down low? This is the crux of the matter, sensible alternatives have been regulated out of existence, and so bad operators willing to break the law flourish . This is why I think you should invite someone who is actually in this business to respond.

      My suggestion would be Tim from the Anderson Valley Community farm, but I feel certain that this point of view can be represented by any number of people in the area.

      y

      Ybera: Not at all. There are many communities now who have mobile slaughterhouses that go farm to farm, and they include a USDA inspector. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/nov10/going.htm

      Of course that would likely have adherents from the local farming community. Again, seek them out to speak about what they know about rather than indulging all these holier than thou stuff.

      y

I’m a local farmer/rancher. My wife Paula and I own/operate Mendocino Organics. We would love for their to be a moderate sized slaughterhouse located on the outskirts of the Ukiah Valley that would process upwards of 30,000 animals a year. We would probably not use a mobile slaughterhouse.

Currently, I haul our animals to Rancho in Petaluma, Panizzerra in downtown Occidental, or Redwood Meats in Eureka. I do not know how many animals they process for sure but I estimate Rancho processes somewhere in the 30,000-50,000 animals a year range, Redwood is probably similar in terms of scale, and Panizzera is the smallest and probably does between 5,000-10,000.

While mobile slaughterhouses might be a good fit for some areas, it seems like it would be hard to make that model work in California. It’s illegal to compost offal on farm in California as is disposing of blood by just washing it onto the ground. My understanding is you would have to build a small pole barn with a concrete pad and center drain where the killing would actually happen so the blood could be captured in a holding tank. So besides having to accommodate a fairly large trailer, you would have to accommodate a rendering truck and a sewage truck to haul the offal and waste water away. Adding up all the infrastructure you would need to put in along with the operating costs of having the waste dealt with, we would opt to continue with business as usual- i.e. driving to Sonoma or Humboldt. Even if it were possible to aggregate other’s producers animals onto one farm for a “kill day” you would have issues of the host farm possibly welcoming diseases onto their farm.

We are probably one of the larger local ranchers who direct market their meat. We sell directly to people, to Ukiah Natural Foods, and to Bay Area restaurants with the bulk of our production going out of county. Roughly 25-30% of the cost of our meat is in processing and transportation. So, we do what I think is a good job show casing the quality of food that can be produced in our area and procure a fair price for it while other counties economically benefiting from our work.

The three slaughterhouses are located in fairly populated areas with Panizzera being almost adjacent to an elementary school. Rancho- http://goo.gl/maps/UdSFM Redwood Meats- http://goo.gl/maps/iJctn and Panizzera- http://goo.gl/maps/2nEG1 for anyone interested in a bird’s eye view of what slaughterhouses look like close to towns.

Oh, and Tom- You don’t like Mexicans? bummer.

Thanks for your informative post. I could have done without the jab, deserved or otherwise, at Tom. I like the places I visit to adopt gentle manners.

y

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