6 Fundamental Reasons Why
Friends of Whatcom County Oppose Whatcom County Council’s “Slaughterville Ordinance AB2012-300″
1) Un-designating animal slaughterhouses as a Prohibited Use throughout the 88,000 acre Agricultural zone is extremely unwise. Even one such facility will set a dangerous and regrettable precedent, and this Council proposes allowing 6 such facilities for starters, with more to come later. The economic, environmental and ethical costs and consequences of this Ordinance will be very high, while the benefits will be relatively minimal.
2) There is no need to re-zone 88,000 acres of Ag-zoned land for numerous slaughterhouses when there is plenty of industrially-zoned land existing in Whatcom County where slaughterhouses are already an allowed use (where appropriate sewer, stormwater and transportation facilties already exist). There are also USDA-certified mobile slaughter units which already enable small-scale meat producers in Whatcom County to receive on-farm animal slaughtering services whenever they desire to do so.
3) Animal slaughterhouses are notoriously unprofitable and nightmarish businesses that are totally inappropriate anywhere near people’s homes, children, schools or churches…all of which this County Council and AB2012-300 seek to enable (with only 50-foot road-front setbacks zero-foot side and rear yard setbacks!).
4) Currently, the Whatcom County Code expressly prohibits just two types of “farm product processing” throughout Whatcom County’s agricultural zone, allowing such only in industrial zones: animal slaughterhouses and mushroom composting facilities. Why just these two? These are the two types of “farm product processing” that are well known to devastate adjacent and nearby property values, and also produce the most obnoxious off-site consequences such as horrible odors, insect and rodent infestations, area crop contamination with fecal matter and pathogens from slaughterhouse-related insect and rodent infestations, and the list goes on. In the case of animal slaughterhouses, add horrible sights, sounds, bad karma and surface water contamination to the extensive list.
5) The proposed zoning amendment, if enacted, will indirectly but actively encourage proliferation of Confined Animal Operations (CAOs) throughout rural Whatcom County in which innumerable cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals will be raised inhumanely.
6) It will be a real shame if Whatcom County becomes widely known as “Slaughterville” as a result of this County Council’s AB2012-300.
Here’s what Mark Asmundson, Northwest Clean Air Agency Executive Director and former Mayor of Bellingham, stated in his 10/9/2012 letter to Whatcom County Council and the Whatcom County Planning Commission regarding AB2012-300:
“This is a critical issue. Rendering facilities are one of the most disruptive types of operations imaginable. Our agency has had memorable experiences dealing with rendering facilities, and they are uniformly bad experiences. The odors such facilities generate are, frankly, unimaginable. Their (negative) potency can only be understood by personal exposure. (Think mushroom composting and multiply by 10). Additionally, the devaluation of properties adjacent to a rendering facility can be financially catastrophic.”
Please click here to view and sign the Citizen Petition Opposing Proliferation of Animal Slaughterhouses and Rendering Facilities throughout Whatcom County aka Whatcom County Council Agenda Bill 2012-300