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Animal rights advocates fail to stop slaughterhouse from opening in SF

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An animal rights group’s effort to block a halal slaughterhouse from opening the Bayview District was rejected by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. (AP file art)

Animal rights advocates were defeated Tuesday in their bid to block a proposed poultry slaughterhouse from opening in San Francisco.

The Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 Tuesday to reject an appeal by the Animal Legal Defense Fund of a 2,100-square-foot poultry slaughter proposed for 1526 Wallace Ave. in the Bayview neighborhood.

The appeal sought to overturn a Planning Department’s decision that the project did not need to undergo a environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Abdul Mused, 35, owner of the halal live butchershop Saba Live Poultry, has operated a store in Oakland for the past five years and has eight other locations on the east coast.

“Clear the way for San Francisco’s only halal live butcher shop,” said Mused’s land use attorney Daniel Frattin, with Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP. “This will be the only place in the city selling freshly slaughtered chickens prepared according to Islamic dietary tradition.”

Animal Legal Defense Fund staff attorney Cristina Stella argued that “a facility that seeks to transport, confine to indoor cages, and slaughter more than 100,000 animals annually has environmental effects that must be considered under CEQA.”

She added that the lack of review “continues this legacy of environmental injustice that has affected residents of the Bayview.”

Planning staff said the proposed business’s operation was of a scale that didn’t trigger an environmental review. The business will still need to meet the standards of other regulatory agencies, such as for wastewater or noise.

The appeal raised concerns about impacts such as vehicle pollution. Frattin said that “chickens will be brought in on box trucks, two to four a week, with three to five trucks coming in per week to remove waste.”

“Even at the busiest of times of year, we are looking at two trucks a day, which is typical or less than most other commercial uses in this city,” Frattin said. “It would actually be a net reduction compared to the five trucks that previously operated at the site.”

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the Bayview, said the business wouldn’t compound any of the already existing health issues, like air pollution.

“At the end of the day, we are talking about replacing a towing company, a towing company that quite frankly had far more adverse impact on the environment. It yielded a substantial amount of emissions,” Cohen said. “The Bayview is a food desert. That means access to healthy food is very difficult. This project will be an added benefit to the neighborhood.”

The business is expected to open within the next four to six months.

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