Demonically Possessed Slaughter Crazed Ideologues Wrecking Rural WhatcomPermalink +
Wed, May 22, 2013, 10:12 am // Guest writer
Guest writer Nicole Brown submitted this an an email. Tip Johnson has edited a few words and posted it as a guest piece.
Get ready for a public hearing in 2 weeks on slaughterhouses and packing plants in the agriculture zone. The Whatcom County Council committee voted to bring it forward for recommendation tonight.
I am asking for your help.
1. Wendy Harris has worked hard to demand that the rezoning of 80,000 acres zoned agricultural not take place at all because industrial activity of this scale belongs in Rural Industrial Management zones. She has been ignored.
2. Department of Ecology testified a month ago to committee that slaughtering facilities of this scale and type are, in fact, industrial. Known polluters that require an industrial waste permit. This has been pretty much ignored.
3. At the VERY LEAST we asked that if this rezone moves forward, slaughtering and meat packing be prohibited in critical areas (frequently flooded, shorelines, fish habitat, and aquifer recharge). They outright denied this logical amendment that safeguards important natural resources.
4. We also asked that they not permit 50% of animals slaughtered can be imported from out of county or Canada. Currently, there is an estimated 50,000 head of cattle sent away for slaughter that could be slaughtered here. It makes sense that planning accommodate these animals, but not invite an additional 50,000 head of cattle be imported in for slaughter, which would benefit nobody except the slaughterhouse owner. We already have a water quality and quantity issue in Whatcom County. Cattle are known polluters and consumers of this important resource. Why design a system that relies on importing more animals into our county and having to deal with their waste from holding through slaughter, which is a very high waste and high water industry.
5. We also asked that these facilities be limited in size, on agricultural lands, to 10,000 square feet. Anything bigger should be in the RIM. They claim there is no room in the RIM; but why not rezone more RIM for such industry rather than farmland? This request has also been ignored and the facility limit has been set at 30,000 square feet.
6. There remains a 0 foot buffer between property lines, which means these facilities could butt up against organic fields and u-pick berry farms. I spoke with WSDA and it would be up to the organic farmer to surrender field space to create a buffer.
These seem like reasonable asks, but there has been no negotiation. Furthermore, we know there are only a few supporters of this change in the dairy industry. They also have access to strong Tea Party listservs. The majority of people contacting council are opposed. Still, no negotiating with council on this.
We don't have a lot of time. I ask that farmers, climate activists, community rights organizers, animal rights advocates, and lovers of the water and the land commit to the issue from your own place of passion, but it is important for us to be on point with our "asks" from council. Please consider having this dialogue among your own networks and understand the importance of showing up strong on June 4.
In the meantime, council can be reached at: email@example.com
Wed, May 22, 2013, 10:12 am // Guest writerBy Guest Writer Nicole Brown. This is a call to action for county citizens as the county tries to ram through the slaughterhouse rezones.
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