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Guest Column: Another slaughterhouse in the Rock River Watershed?

July 21, 2010

By Steven Hahn
Business and Property Owner in the City of DeKalb

Trim-Rite foods and J&A Investors are proposing to open a 41,000-sq./ft. slaughterhouse in Dekalb, Ill., capable of processing 2,700 pigs per day. If built, this facility will have a major adverse impact on the surrounding homes, businesses, and the Rock River Watershed.

The facility would be located less than 900 feet from the South Fork of the Kishwaukee River. The Kishwaukee River is home to 28 endangered, threatened or watch-listed species and is one of three Class A streams left in the state.

This would be the sixth proposed or current slaughterhouse in the Rock River Watershed. The cumulative effects of the waste discharges from these facilities are not being addressed.

The Rock River is already the 12th most-polluted waterway in the country and cannot absorb the impacts of another polluting slaughterhouse.

The only way to adequately address the impacts is for the city and the Army Corps of Engineers to require an Environmental Impact Statement. Numerous businesses, a school, and hundreds of homes are located within approximately a one-half mile of the proposed site. The foul odors, noise, loss of property values, and increased traffic will have a tremendous effect on the quality of life and economy of the surrounding area.

Trim-Rite gets the profits, and the local community inherits a huge risk. This is a risk we do not need to take.

J&A Investors claim the slaughterhouse would provide approximately 35 jobs at $24,000 a year, which is hardly a living wage, and not the kind of jobs Dekalb County should be courting. Slaughterhouse jobs traditionally attract migrant workers who often do not reside in the area permanently. There is a very real possibility that local businesses employing hundreds of local people with high-paying living wages will be pushed out of the area.

Most hogs that will be slaughtered at this facility will not even come from Dekalb County. The majority of the hogs will come from Iowa and southern Illinois. Dekalb County is a proud agricultural community that supports the hog industry, but this does not mean that we should allow a slaughterhouse to be built in an inappropriate location.

The City of DeKalb has scheduled an open house at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 26, to allow the citizens of the Kishwaukee River Watershed to question Trim-Rite Foods on their proposal. The city council will then hold a special Meeting to consider the hog slaughtering facility special-use permit at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30. Both meetings will be in the City Council Chambers.

Please attend one or both of these meetings and let the mayor and the city council know you don’t support destructive economic development in our watersheds.

The Kishwaukee and the Rock rivers cannot handle any more unnecessary threats; we need to stop this proposal in its tracks. You can help by contacting the mayor and the city council members directly and tell them you do not support the Trim-Rite proposal, and that they should ask the Corps of Engineers to require an Environmental Impact Statement.

You do not need to live in DeKalb to be affected by this proposal; we all live in the same watershed.



→ Alderman Ron Naylor

328 W. Sunset Place, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Ron Naylor

328 W. Sunset Place, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Brendon Gallagher

423 S. Second Street, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Tom Teresinski

119 Ilehamwood Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Lisa Kammes

1211 University Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Bertrand Simpson

2570 Soros Ct., DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Dave Baker

560 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115


→ Alderman Pam Verbic

803 N. Tenth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115


City of Dekalb Web site:

Save the Kishwaukee!

From the July 21-27, 2010 issue

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