Wholestone Butcher Shop celebrates opening as opponents of slaughterhouse expansion allege OSHA, inhumane treatment of animals at Nebraska location
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Wholestone Foods ribbon cutting was one of the largest turnouts in years, according to Chamber of Commerce members.
Despite the celebration, the uncertainty of how voters will decide their expansion from butcher shop to slaughterhouse looms over their future.
Company representatives, farmers, and city officials joined in celebrating the opening of the first phase of Wholestone farms inside Sioux Falls city limits.
“What’s opening today is the butcher shop. People think of it as a meat locker. We’ll have an operating a slaughterhouse prior to any ballot outcome, therefore preserving our rights to build the facility in the future,” said Luke Minion, Board Chairman at Wholestone Farms II LLC.
A Smart Growth Sioux Falls spokesperson, Robert Peterson, sees things differently.
“They can cut as many ribbons as they want to. It doesn’t change the fact that the courts reaffirmed that any city-issued permits were illegal,” said Peterson.
Wholestone foods II LLC has established another facility in Nebraska.
“Fremont is owned by Hillstone farms II LLC,” said Minion.
And the history of the Nebraska location is raising questions.
“There were multiple violations at the Fremont facility, which they claimed to be a very similar plant. You look at they were cited for discharging oil and grease above allowable limits,” said Peterson.
“I don’t know that we’ve never had an OSHA violation. I don’t know anybody who runs a packing plant that can say that. I can say this; if we did, we would remedy it and correct it,”,” said Minion.
Another alleged violation is a concern.
“They were also cited for the inhumane slaughter of animals,” said Peterson.
“Everything we do is built around the idea that we do not mistreat animals,” said Minion.
What both sides agree on is the desire to support farmers. A location change could disarm the fight and benefit farmers like the Lannings from Sacred Heart, Minnesota.
“More stability because the packing plants make money,” said Dave Lanning, who operates the four-generation family farm. “The producers don’t always make money. I hope everything works out great here in Sioux Falls.”
While voting on the issue, look for it at the end of the ballot. A vote of ‘No” is for the expansion of Wholestone into a hog processing facility, while a vote of ‘Yes” is against the expansion.
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