Typical conditions at Chicago slaughterhouses

At least 9 of Chicago’s 13 bird slaughterhouses currently operating today are less than 20 years old and therefore are not exempt from the 200 ft. restriction established in 1990 which requires them to be at least 200 feet away from other businesses or residences. The Chicago Department of Public Health failed to enforce this law in these 9 cases from 1990 to 2012 (In 2012, the law was transferred to section 17-90-119 of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance). As a result, it is common to find nothing but a wall or ceiling separating residents from slaughter rooms covered in excrement, blood and feathers. In still other cases, nothing but a 16-foot alley separates slaughterhouses and their overflowing and rotting animal refuse from other residential and commercial properties.

This video shows common conditions at slaughterhouses, many of which violate city public health, sanitation and environmental ordinances.

Slaughterhouses routinely violate the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Food Code Rules 10-101.10 Sanitary Requirements for Live Poultry (beginning on page 273) which:

  • requires that birds are to “be kept in good condition, healthy and clean.” The reality makes a complete mockery of this rule. Birds are kept in filthy, overcrowded cages where they are forced to squat in their own accumulating waste for days. Diseased and weak birds are often found trampled by other birds, dead birds are housed with lives birds, and birds eat other birds due to starvation.
  • requires that they are “inspected and approved by Illinois Department of Agriculture” and that they maintain “documentation onsite showing approval to operate from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.” IDA claims they have no such records.
  • requires specific slaughtering equipment and methods, yet we have documented brutal hand slaughtering of animals with a knife or twisting the animal’s neck to death.
  • requires specific “watertight,” “nonabsorbent” materials that do not harbor pathogens, yet we have documented birds slaughtered over plastic garbage cans and dilapidated slaughtering rooms with unauthorized surface materials.
  • requires that birds be housed in cages at all times, and yet we have documented birds found wandering outside of cages on the floor, some drinking from puddles of dirty water.
  • requires that “the premises shall be at all times kept in a clean, sanitary condition, free from accumulation of refuse, garbage and offensive material, and nuisances of all kinds.” Yet we have documented highly offensive odors that cover entire city blocks and highly unsanitary conditions at all locations.
  • requires that dead and diseased birds be immediately removed from crates with other birds, yet we have documented dead and diseased birds crowded in crates with others.

In addition, we have routinely found:

  • Dumpsters overflowing with animal body parts and blood. Dumping of dead animals or any kind of animal refuse in city dumpsters is expressly prohibited.
  • Blood and body parts found in public alleys and blood draining into the public sewer
  • Loud and disruptive deliveries of animals in the middle of the night with the sounds of animals screaming and crates of birds being slammed around, causing them further trauma and injury
  • Live animals who have escaped from the slaughterhouse and found in the alleys or streets
  • Live animals being illegally sold to customers which is prohibited