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meat of the matter

A friend asked me to sign a petition against a proposed slaughterhouse on the East Side. The neighborhood there isn’t residential but apparently some nearby businesses are arguing that the city should not license the operation.

I kind of think it’s hypocritical to be against a slaughterhouse if I eat meat, which I do. So does the friend who asked me to sign the petition. Isn’t local food production a good thing? Plus, it’s a halal slaughterhouse, run by Muslims, and I wonder how much racism has to do with opposition to the business. What do you guys think?

—Canny Carnivore

The Straight Skinny says: Not in my backyard, brother. That’s what we’re dealing with here: NIMBYs. If we’re talking about the same slaughterhouse—and how many proposals for halal slaughterhouses on Buffalo’s East Side are floating around—then it’s in a non-residential area. It’s primarily industrial. One of the opposing neighbors is a Subway franchise, which stays in business by selling, that’s right, meat.

There’s an old saying about exposing the inner works of any industry: No one wants to see how sausage is made. But your Jimmy Deans come from somewhere, and it seems to me that we ought not to punish people who start businesses that meet the demands of the market. Maybe that makes me Chicago School, but so be it.

Which leads us to your suspicion that there may be some racism involved. Buffalo’s Muslim community is indeed growing quickly, and it has special needs. The proposed slaughterhouse is an effort to satisfy one of those needs. Is the opposition racist? Lacking the ability to look into the hearts of those agitating against it, who can say? Probably not consciously so, I would guess, though Muslims have a tough time in this country.

In any case, that’s not a question you need to answer: You want to know if you ought to sign the petition. Your doubts are your answer. If you’re skeptical about the matter or motives behind this or any petition, don’t sign it. No one’s holding a meat cleaver over your head

It’s Classified says: Unfortunately, meat doesn’t just grow on trees, and until the day comes when it does, I can only dream about my beef orchard.

I don’t have much in the way of advice off the top of my head, but I do have a few questions. Are there any zoning issues with the slaughterhouse? What businesses are opposed to the slaughterhouse, and what are their motives? Will there be any significant impact to the community?

Finally, has anyone spoken with the people involved in operating the slaughterhouse? That might be a nice starting point, and it would give all parties a chance to express their concerns.

The Wise Young Intern says: Before you sign anything you should do your due diligence. If you aren’t opposed to meat, then it wouldn’t make much sense to sign a petition opposing a slaughterhouse. However, there may be other reasons to protest this business that you aren’t yet aware of. Look into the company, its mission statement, look for news articles that mention the company. Once you have gathered what you feel to be sufficient information regarding the company and its processes, make your informed decision with confidence.

Whether or not your friend’s opposition to the company has to do with the ethnicity of the ownership is a question worth asking. It has happened that immigrant groups have used legitimately earned American money to fund military operations back home (i.e. the Fenians, Al Qaeda) but that is rarely the case. If your friend or yourself have legitimate concerns about where the owners of this business are putting their money, then do some investigating. If there is no reason to believe that these people are doing anything wrong then there should be no reason to petition a business that will bring jobs and money to an area of town that could use such things.

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