City Council on Saturday pushed its decision on a Islamic slaughterhouse and butcher shop with live poultry at 3225 Colvin Street. Council, which was missing two of its members at the public hearing, moved 4-1 to table the discussion until its March 26 legislative meeting.
Mayor Justin Wilson wanted to move the matter forward and was the lone vote against his colleagues.
“I am prepared to support it,” Wilson said.
DC Poultry Market Corporation would use the Halal method of meat preparation, but at issue is whether Council should back the planning commission’s unanimous recommendation to go ahead with amending the special use permit to allow chickens to live at the facility overnight.
DC Poultry Market Corporation is owned by Abdul Mused, who owns more than a dozen other Halal slaughterhouses on the east coast. He said that 100 to 300 chickens would be delivered daily and that deliveries could go up to 500 chickens a day depending on the season. He also said that he would be willing to change the delivery time from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“We bring live chickens from our own farms in Lancaster County (Pa.). Most of our chickens are antibiotic free and organic chickens,” Mused said. “We process it for them while they are waiting, and they get to see the whole process from A to Z. The whole process takes three to 10 minutes, depending on how busy we are.”
There were more than a dozen speakers at the public hearing, including business owners of dog-related businesses in the area of Colvin Street. The block is home to the Wholistic Hound Dog Academy, Frolick Dogs, Dogtopia, Pinnacle Pet Spa & More and the Wild Bird Center of Alexandria, and many of the owners are worried that bringing a slaughterhouse to the neighborhood will impact their bottom lines.
Kevin Gilliam is the owner of canine sports club Frolick Dogs, and said that he and his neighbors were not notified of the application until the last minute and that the delivery times of chickens of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. are the same time that his clients drop off and pick up their animals.
“We take pride in taking excellent care of the animals that come to our facility. I don’t think keeping a slaughterhouse nearby would be appropriate for my clients,” Gilliam said.
Tasib Bacchus of Falls Church told council that the Islamic community needs more Halal markets to be able to put more humane food on their tables.
“We are constantly in search of a safe way and natural way of processing our meats and this company will deliver just that. We’ve been forced to do our own slaughter in our own homes simply because no services like this have been available in our communities,” he said.
Councilors Canek Aguirre and John Chapman did not attend Saturday’s meeting. City Councilor Mo Seifeldein said that the matter potentially opens the city to legal problems, since it has a religious use.
“Given that the application states that there will be some religious use to this application, we must be mindful of the law,” Seifeldein said. “I fear this will entangle us in litigation that will be costly to the city and residents.”