Supervisors OK City's 1st Halal Slaughterhouse For Bayview

East Oakland's Saba Live Poultry will proceed with plans to open a halal slaughterhouse in the Bayview after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to block an appeal by an animal rights group, the Examinerreports.

As we reported last September, the company--which only slaughters animals at the point of sale--plans to renovate the space to process live poultry and livestock.

Founded in 1998, Saba has locations in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and California. Besides slaughtering animals on site, workers also skin and pluck them before "cutting the meat and chicken to the customer's desired preference," according to its website.

Saba Live Poultry's Oakland facility. | Photo: Vicky K./Yelp

Although the company will mainly process chickens at its Bayview site, Saba Live Poultry sells eggs, goat, rabbit, ducks and veal.

The appeal, filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), aimed to change a recent Planning Department decision that did not recommend an environmental review under California's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

ALDF attorney Cristina Stella argued that because the proposed 2,100-square-foot facility would "transport, confine to indoor cages, and slaughter more than 100,000 animals annually," its environmental impacts should be studied.

The animal-rights group also cited a "legacy of environmental injustice that has affected residents of the Bayview" as reason for concern.

SF Planning staff said the size of the slaughterhouse operation does not warrant a CEQA review, but said the business will still need to comply with the city's regulatory standards.

Proposed site at 1526 Wallace Ave. | Photo: Google

Daniel Frattin, a land use attorney for Saba Live Poultry owner Abdul Mused, urged the Board to "clear the way for San Francisco's only halal live butcher shop," making it the city's sole source for "freshly slaughtered chickens prepared according to Islamic dietary tradition."

Part of the appeal centered around the potential impact of vehicle pollution, but Frattin said that "even at the busiest of times of year, we are looking at two trucks a day, which is typical or less than most other commercial uses in this city."

Because Charles Tow Service operated with five trucks at the site for years, "it would actually be a net reduction," Frattin said. The tow company has since moved its operations to Silver Terrace.

District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the neighborhood, said the towing company had a far more negative affect on the environment and "yielded a substantial amount of emissions."

"At the end of the day, we are talking about replacing a towing company," said Cohen. "The Bayview is a food desert. That means access to healthy food is very difficult. This project will be an added benefit to the neighborhood."