'Don't want this to happen:' Protesters speak out against slaughterhouse at Century City

MILWAUKEE -- A group of people on Tuesday, Oct. 15 gathered at City Hall to protest Strauss Brands bringing a slaughterhouse to the Century City Business Park. This, ahead of a Common Council meeting to approve construction.

"Any time a slaughterhouse comes into an area, crime rates go up," claimed a protester at City Hall. "Slaughterhouse workers have the highest rates of PTSD because of the traumatic things they see in slaughterhouses. In addition to that, when the crime rates go up, property values will start dropping. Nobody wants to buy property in a high-crime area. These are just some of the issues. Environmental issues with this, obviously there's the pollution that's going to happen."

"It's nasty," said Wanda Terry. "It's germy. It's everything."

Wanda Terry

Terry and her son, Keith, dropped everything to head to City Hall after learning city leaders might sell land to Strauss Brands, LLC.

"I don't want this to happen in my mom's community," said Keith Terry.

City leaders announced in September that Strauss planned to build a 175,000 square foot headquarters and meat processing operation in the city-owned industrial park.

"This is being irresponsibly crafted in a residential neighborhood," said Balaji Venkatesan with Slaughter Free Milwaukee.

Protesters Tuesday said they only recently learned the facility would include a slaughterhouse.

"I think it's wrong for them to have a meeting and make decisions that other people have not weighed in on," said Keith Terry.

Alderman Bob Bauman agreed.

"I would move item 61 and 62 back to committee," said Alderman Bauman.

Bauman, who sits on the committee overseeing the sale, told the Common Council it was clear at the last committee meeting the public didn't know enough.

"There was nobody there," said Bauman. "No citizens in support. No opposition. It was essentially an empty room."

Critics say slaughterhouses are bad for the environment. Some worried the odor coming from the facility would impact nearby neighborhoods.

"It's terrible," said Wanda Terry. "It's a bad spot for a neighborhood."

Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents the area where the plant would be located, said he didn't believe these protesters represented his neighbors, or understood what those new jobs would mean for them.

"When you talk about trauma and PTSD, these things exist in our community, and I don't hear from you all when it's going on on a daily basis," said Rainey.

Strauss Brands LLC., based in Franklin, is a leading producer of specialty meats, including American grass-fed and organic beef, as well as veal and lamb. Strauss supplies a mix of retail and foodservice customers throughout the United States.

Initially, the Strauss Brands move to Century City is expected to provide 250 jobs.

Strauss issued this statement to FOX6:

"Our family company, Strauss Brands, has operated in the greater Milwaukee area for more than 82 years and has a strong reputation as a good corporate citizen. Strauss Brands is proud of our reputation as one of the nation’s leading suppliers of ethically raised meats."

"We look forward to working with the city and the community to advance this important economic development project in Century City."