On February 19th, 5 activists with Slaughter Free Chicago flooded the public comment period of the Chicago City Council meeting, presenting gruesome details of Chicago slaughterhouses and how they connect to the climate emergency being voted on that day.
They made three demands: The first demand is that the city must cut ties with animal agriculture interests. The second is to rapidly develop a plant based food program, and the third is to shut down Chicago’s last slaughterhouses. One of these public comments was delivered by Meghan who tells her compelling story of living next to a slaughterhouse. The transcript from the video appears below.
“My name is Meghan, and I am here today representing Animal Rebellion Chicago and Slaughter Free Chicago. While I commend you for making a declaration of a climate emergency, I must remind you that a declaration alone is not enough. The future of our planet is at stake, and we need to act on climate change immediately. We need to do everything possible to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
I want to talk to you today about one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, which is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 51% of greenhouse gases, including the most damaging of gases, methane. What many people do not know is that the city of Chicago is still home to 14 slaughterhouses.
I know because I live near a slaughterhouse in the 32nd Ward. This establishment affects everyone in our community. The delivery truck arrives at midnight, and from my window I can hear the cries of chickens that are crammed into crates with no room to breathe. They are brought inside the slaughterhouse with a variety of other birds as well as rabbits and guinea pigs waiting to be killed. I cannot open a window or the smell will be let into my apartment.
The building itself is extremely filthy and unsanitary. Workers walk around with blood-soaked aprons, and there are feathers on the ground, which can sometimes also be found in the alley outside. This could very easily spread disease. The Coronavirus began in slaughterhouses in China due to unsanitary conditions, and something similar could potentially happen in Chicago if actions are not taken to shut down these establishments. These slaughterhouses have violated a multitude of city zoning and public health laws that should be enough to shut them down. However, the laws are not being enforced.
Shutting down these slaughterhouses is the first and most important step to promoting a plant-based diet for the citizens of Chicago, which would help the environment immensely. If everyone in Chicago stopped consuming animal products, we could cut our city’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%. Mayor Lightfoot, if you actually care about the future of our planet, you must work on closing the slaughterhouses, cutting ties with animal agriculture interests, and promoting a plant-based food system. Otherwise, this climate emergency declaration is nothing but a declaration, and our city and planet will continue to suffer.”
Take action and sign our petition demanding that Aldermen who made bacon jokes and laughed during a climate debate step down!