When I moved to North Carolina almost three years ago, I didn't know that I had moved to the factory farming capital of the U.S. and probably the world. A life-long activist, I felt that I had to do something that would address the violence of factory farming and slaughter, so in late 1996, I launched The Factory Farming Economic Conversion Project (FFECP).
Our mission is to create a more compassionate, just and peaceful society by working to end the brutal confinement and slaughter of more than eight billion nonhuman animals each year in the United States. We are committed to saving lives, improving health, and protecting the Earth. The focus of our work is to help individuals and communities that are financially dependent upon factory farms and slaughterhouses to develop economic alternatives that are cruelty- free and environmentally sustainable; provide public education on the ethical, health, and environmental benefits of a vegan diet; and create more sanctuaries for "farm" animals rescued from factory farms, auctions, and slaughterhouses.
Almost simultaneously with the creation of FFECP came word that North Carolina State University had chosen its veterinary school as the site for a proposed $5.5 million slaughterhouse -- at a veterinary school and animal hospital where, I thought, animals are healed and cared for! This May, the Raleigh Planning Commission put the issue on its consent agenda, which meant that they would have voted to approve NCSU's preliminary site plans without public comment and send it on to the City Council's consent agenda for a similar vote.
We immediately raised moral and ethical objections, and demanded compliance with Raleigh's zoning ordinance which prohibits the construction of slaughterhouses. Trying to circumvent the zoning restriction, NCSU called the slaughterhouse a "meat processing laboratory". However, even in the minutes of their own trustee meeting, they use the word "abattoir", French for "slaughterhouse". Many residents oppose the idea because of concerns about odor, water/sewage, reduced property values, traffic, and loss of business. Several appeals have been filed by both individual and corporate property owners.
A poorly conducted hearing was held on October 13th, and the board of adjustments ruled 4-1 in favor of the zoning inspector (and NCSU) for the slaughterhouse. It still has to go through City Council, but there is likely to be an appeal to Superior Court by an appellant, which would prevent Raleigh from making any decision till the appellate process concludes. NC residents can call the City Clerk at 890-3040 and ask to be notified when the slaughterhouse is an agenda item; we encourage TVSers to speak up on this issue when it is scheduled.
Letters to the Mayor and City Council members, as well as to the NCSU Chancellor (Ed.:Larry Monteith announced on 9/16 that he will soon retire as Chancellor) and your state legislators are also important. Tell them to redirect the $5.5 million to compassionate uses like scholarships, health services, rural veterinary care, spay/neuter programs, and promotion of organic farming and vegetarianism (put the College of Agriculture in the forefront of healthy eating and growing for the 21st century!).
Stopping NCSU's slaughterhouse has consumed The Factory Farming Economic Conversion Project in its first year. There is so much work to be done on this as well as our overall mission. If you would like to get involved or send a donation, please contact me at P.O. Box 51412, Durham, NC 27717, 403-0748.