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Protesters rally against proposed slaughterhouse in Islip

Katering Trabazo, of Jackson Heights, and John Di

Katering Trabazo, of Jackson Heights, and John Di Leonardo, PETA outreach manager, were among the protesters against a proposed poultry slaughterhouse Tuesday outside the Islip Town Hall West in Islip. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The developer of a proposed slaughterhouse in Islip submitted documents to the town supporting the case for a zoning variance, a move that activists and residents continue to fight against.

The town zoning board last month received paperwork from Huntington resident Joseph Rosario, who is seeking a special exception for a poultry slaughterhouse at 1 Beaver Dam Rd., Islip spokeswoman Caroline Smith said. 

About 20 demonstrators Tuesday night held up signs that said “Meat is murder” and “I am you, only different” showing a caged chicken before the Islip Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at Town Hall West. The slaughterhouse proposal was not on the agenda.

John Di Leonardo, president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature and a manager for PETA, said demonstrators wanted to show up at Town Hall to keep the heat on board members.

“We are here to urge Islip to quickly deny Joseph Rosario’s application,” he said. “This is the 21st century. We should be taking slaughterhouses down, not building new ones.”

Rosario’s lawyer, Eugene R. Barnosky, argues in the documents submitted late last month that as long as a special exception application follows state law and Islip code, officials are obligated to grant it.

Barnosky cited law cases to make his argument.

“Here, the Town Board of the Town of Islip has made the Legislative finding that the applicant’s proposed use of the subject premises is in harmony with the Town’s land use plan for the district in which it is situated. . . .  If the application shows compliance with all the conditions imposed by the Code, a permit must be issued,” the letter states.

The six-page letter also addresses some of the environmental concerns made at the Oct. 23 public hearing that hundreds of people attended.

“Many people at the hearing raised concerns regarding water pollution, rodents and garbage,” Barnosky’s letter said. “The chickens will all be kept inside. The facility will be connected to the Southwest Sewer District. Mr. Rosario’s facility will capture the blood into plastic garbage bags, which are then refrigerated with the other byproducts, before being carted away.”

But protester Keri Michele of Islip, who said she is vegan, doesn’t believe Rosario’s claims that he’ll be able to keep a clean facility.

“I’m 100 percent opposed,” Michele said Tuesday night. “I’m against pollution to the air, the water, the ground. It’s filthy. It’s dirty. It’s a residential area.”

According to Rosario’s application, he plans to run a poultry slaughterhouse out of a 6,000-square-foot building that sits on the property.

The business will hold no more than 300 chickens at one time that will be delivered to the site about three times a week, Rosario has said. The slaughterhouse will operate six days a week. It will be available for retail business as well as deliveries to restaurants and customers, Rosario’s application said.

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