Planning commission supports Muslim slaughterhouse
FAIRBAULT -- The Rice County Planning Commission says the Rice County Board should give its permission to a man who wants to build a slaughterhouse that would follow Muslim traditions.
Ali Giarushi's meatpacking plant in a rural area of the county would cater to the thousands of Muslims living 45 miles away in the Twin Cities. His plant would use the halal slaughtering process -- a religious ritual similar to the kosher process used by Jews. It involves slitting an animal's throat.
In voting Thursday to recommend a permit for Giarushi, the planning commission said he would have to meet several conditions, such as developing a plan to control bacteria and pathogens.
The County Board plans to consider the commission's recommendation July 29.
"What this issue comes down to for me is the fact that this is an agricultural zone. If you look at our ordinance, a custom-meat packing plant is allowed in an agricultural zone, by conditional use permit," commissioner Don Olson said.
Some Rice County residents oppose the plan, saying the slaughterhouse would disrupt their rural neighborhood of hobby farms and homes. Besides concerns about animal noises and waste, they fear dozens of trucks will pass through their neighborhood each day to pick up meat.
In an environmental assessment worksheet, Giarushi pledged to collect blood from slaughter areas in underground storage tanks and wastewater in an aboveground tank. He said animal hides, renderings and manure would be stored in boxes and refrigerated until a sanitation company picks them up.