UPC Supports Opposition to Chicken Slaughterhouse in Alexandria, Virginia

Painting of a hand holding a bloody dagger and a hen with tears
(Beth Clifton collage)

Ignoring protests from business owners and residents, the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, voted 5 to 2 on March 26th to issue a special use permit to Saba Live Poultry, a halal operation in which customers choose a chicken, turkey, duck or quail and watch the bird being slaughtered. Each day, between 200 and 500 birds would be slaughtered in what the owners, under the name of DC Live Poultry Market Corporation, fabricated on the application as “humane treatment of animals” under Islamic law.

In April, the Alliance for a Slaughter-Free Alexandria filed a complaint in state court challenging the slaughterhouse approval. The complaint describes the failure of the City Council and Department of Planning and Zoning “to conduct a thorough, complete, and accurate analysis of the deleterious impacts” of the slaughterhouse, including “Intentionally failing to use the term ‘slaughterhouse’ in its staff reports and public notices, while instead referring to the use as a ‘retail establishment that processes chickens.’”

In addition to the court filing, Alliance leaders are educating and activating Alexandria residents, including sponsoring a Change.org Petition urging citizens to tell the Alexandria City Council to rescind the slaughterhouse special use permit.

What Can I Do?
  • If you have internet access, please sign and share this Change.org Petition:

    Rescind City Council’s Approval to Operate a Slaughterhouse in Alexandria, Virginia

  • If you live in Northern Virginia or Washington, DC, please urge the Alexandria Mayor and City Council to rescind their approval of the halal poultry slaughterhouse in Alexandria. If you live outside the region, you are still encouraged to express your opposition to City officials.


    City of Alexandria Mayor & City Council by email:

    Mayor and City Council by phone: 703.746.4500

    Mayor and City Council by regular mail:

    Alexandria City Hall
    301 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

  • To learn more about UPC’s support for this effort, visit our webpage on Live Poultry Markets and Auctions at www.upc-online.org/livemarkets.

UPC’s Letter to the Alexandria, VA Mayor, Vice Mayor, and City Council, March 18, 2019, was posted on the City Council’s Webpage:

Attention: Mayor Justin M. Wilson, Vice Mayor Elizabeth B. Bennett-Parker, and Alexandria City Council Members

Dear Mayors and City Council Members:

I am writing respectfully to urge you not to grant a special permit for a chicken slaughter operation at 3225 Colvin Street in Alexandria.

Despite the Saba Live Poultry staff’s assertion that all the trash and garbage will be stored indoors at all times, this business will truck live birds to the facility. There will be birds crowded in cages in what is most likely to be a putrid smelling interior, as is typical of all the live poultry markets I personally have visited in New York City and that have been visited and recorded by others. These places are filled with birds who typically come from suppliers who round them up from various locations, and often these birds are sick and dying with undiagnosed (and of course untreated) illnesses. But even if they are healthy, they must sit in their cages and listen all day long to the cries and screams of the other birds who are having their throats cut.

Please understand that throat-cutting of a living creature including a chicken is NOT humane and that the language of “humane” to describe this process cheapens the word “humane” and falsifies the experience the birds are enduring. This includes the painful, terrifying experience of a knife blade close to the face and cutting into the sensitive skin and trachea and other parts of the innervated face, throat and neck area. It includes the cruelty of making birds awaiting their own deaths listen to the killing being conducted over and over. So forget “humane.”

Live poultry markets are not clean places regardless of how much rhetoric is expended to say that they are. The smell of blood and suffering is strong, and most frequently, the birds do not have fresh clean food or water in their cages, adding to the inhumanness of these places which always includes rough handling.

And what happens to the birds who are not slaughtered and sold to customers? How are they disposed of along with the daily mess of entrails, blood and other body parts of birds who are slaughtered? And where do the birds come from to begin with? Where do they originate? How long before their arrival at the killing facility were they deprived of food and water?

I am speaking for the birds and for those residents who justifiably do not want a slaughterhouse in their neighborhood. The industrialized poultry industry is 100 percent cruel, filthy, and inhumane, but so are these live poultry operations, which are simply extensions of factory farming rather than “alternatives.”

Please reject the proposal that a bird-killing operation be established in Alexandria. Thank you for your attention. I will be happy to speak with you further upon your request.

Karen Davis, PhD, President

karen signature
United Poultry Concerns