Putting An End To Slaughterhouses in Chicago

A local organization has been working for the past year to put an end to slaughterhouses in Chicago. 

They’ve now scored a meeting with city leaders and are hopeful for a change. 

When the Union Stockyards opened in 1865, Chicago was seen as the slaughter capital of the world.

The meatpacking district handled tens of millions of livestock every year. Now one man is making it his goal to change the future. 

“We would like to close that chapter of our history and usher in a new era of kindness, compassion and fairness,” says Robert Grillo, the lead organizer of Slaughter Free Chicago

Grillo says Aden Poultry didn’t follow zoning regulations. Among others, operating less than 200 feet away from another business and Aden is not zoned for slaughter. 

“If we trace the lives of those animals you can see they suffer for weeks before their violent death.”

Aden Poultry is one of 16 slaughterhouses in Chicago.  It’s the first slaughterhouse the city reviewed, at the same time Slaughter Free Chicago brought up it concerns.

The group will meet with city leaders Monday to discuss comprehensive change, not only to the way facilities are run but also the people who work inside.

Slaughterhouse workers are three times more likely to have serious injuries than the average American worker,” says Grillo. “Think about who wants to come to work and kill animals all day?”

Ciales Poultry Store in Wicker Park is a father-son owned business that has operated for 40 years. 

“We’ve always had a good sense of community where people like to come to buy chickens here,” says Francisco Perez, manager of the slaughterhouse. 

Francisco has been by his father, Raul’s side since he was a little boy with plans to take over the business he says they’ve built with integrity.

“We take a lot of pride with the animals he feeds and breeds.”

And because Ciales is a wholesale facility the store is inspected on a city and federal level by the Department of Agriculture twice a week. 

Raul says the city can come and inspect whenever they’d like; he's confident their standards are above par. 

“Other places use hormones and antibiotics to make the chicken grown in a couple of weeks, here we don’t do that,” says Raul. 

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection weighed in.

“Slaughterhouses in Chicago must obtain a City-issued business license, which requires a health and safety inspection and sanitation certificate, as well as a check for compliance with applicable zoning regulations. BACP has been working closely with advocates and will continue to do so in order to ensure that licensed slaughterhouses are operating in a safe manner.”

Grillo wants all slaughterhouses in Chicago to follow that same standard, but hopes to one day convince all Chicagoans to stop eating meat. 

“If Chicago was to move to a planted based food system they can reduce up to 51 percent of greenhouse emissions from food alone.”

09/23/19 6:33AM