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Halal abattoir in southwest London gets full council approval

Animal rights advocates, local residents, and members of the Muslim community filled the gallery inside council chambers, Tuesday evening.
Animal rights advocates, local residents, and members of the Muslim community filled the gallery inside council chambers, Tuesday evening. Liny Lamberink, 980 CFPL

An abattoir in southwest London will move forward with full council approval, despite a number of signs in council chambers’ gallery on Tuesday night urging politicians to “say no to slaughter.”

Odours, flies, and the removal of deadstock top a list of concerns neighbouring residents have with the development of a livestock facility and halal abattoir at 8076 Longwoods Rd. that would slaughter goats, sheep, and lambs on site.

READ MORE: Halal slaughterhouse rezoning request sent back to London city staff

But two holding provisions will address those issues explained Ward Counc. Anna Hopkins. One provision — a site plan — outlines a requirement for fencing, tree planting, and relocating a livestock paddock to the north of the property. The other provision — a nutrient management plan — will regulate manure.

“I am doing my best to protect the community,” Hopkins said.

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“I’m also supporting provincial policy… that states [on] prime agricultural land, agriculture use is to be supported and permitted. I’m supporting the London plan as well.”

The applicant’s request for a zoning amendment was sent back to staff earlier this year, asking that stricter regulations for an abattoir be met first. The change was given unanimous support by the planning and environment committee last week.

READ MORE: Committee endorses abattoir for southwest London farm

“This is ultimately a question of zoning,” said Counc. Stephen Turner, suggesting a need for more focused debate.

“‘Is this a question of the availability of halal foods in our community?’ That’s not a question we get to entertain as a matter of planning. It’s not a question of animals, other than whether animals [are] on that site… it’s not a question of past behaviour of the applicant either.”

But past behaviour is one of the reasons Jacqueline Caranci, an immediate neighbour of the property, is upset about council’s decision.

“There [were] policies already in place for this current zoning that’s there that doesn’t allow to have livestock or any of these operations, and we’ve been dealing with this for eight years.”

The owner of the property is due in court next month after being charged under city bylaw for having livestock last year, against the previous zoning regulations.

“It just proves that policies don’t sometimes work,” Caranci explained.

“I feel like common sense was not part of this decision today.”