On Monday, Robert Peterson of Sioux Falls began circulating a municipal initiative petition seeking to put to a vote a proposal from his ballot question committee, Smart Growth Sioux Falls, to ban the construction or operation of any new slaughterhouses within the city limits of Sioux Falls. The proposal, as filed with the City Clerk, would allow Smithfield Foods, the city’s only industrial slaughterhouse to continue operations and to alter or expand its facility, as long as such changes remain within the bounds of its current site. Here is the exact text Peterson and his group want to add to the Queen City’s zoning ordinances:
Peterson and friends are trying to stop Wholestone Farms, a branch of swine CAFO company Pipestone Systems, from building a sausage factory where 1,000 workers will slaughter 6,000,000 pigs a year. But “slaughterhouse”, as defined in Sioux Falls Ordinance 160.005, is “A facility for the slaughtering and processing of animals and the refining of their byproducts.” The proposed ordinance would thus also appear to ban the launch of any new small butcher shop that would kill critters on site, the very sort of operations that Governor Kristi Noem has spent good (federal) money to boost as bulwarks against the thieving oligopolists of the meatpacking industry.
According to the South Dakota Animal Industry Board’s lists of inspected establishments and custom exempt establishments, the only such small slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls is Uncle Ed’s Specialty Meats.
South Dakota Pork Producers Council exec Glenn Muller says this initiative would violate the principles of the free market:
“That’s concerning to us when you start selecting different entities and saying which entity can we expand, attract and which entities are we going to put limitations on,” Muller said. “I think the free enterprise system will take care of that. I don’t know that we need to incorporate that into the petition” [Eric Mayer, “SD Pork Organization Concerned About New Petition,” KELO-TV, 2022.04.27].
Pipestone/Wholestone boss Luke Minion warns this petition will hurt farmers:
“If you sign the petition, you’re gonna harm a local farmer,” Minion said. “Our farmers that own this project are local and you’re stopping them from moving forward with a five-plus year planning process” [Mayer, 2022.04.27].
Minion and Muller express no opinion about the city’s restrictions on the number of alcohol peddlers and medical marijuana dispensers, which restrictions limit market opportunities for farmers of barley and cannabis. But they representatives of industry, not political philosophers.
The farmer-killing socialists of Smart Growth Sioux Falls must collect the signatures of 5% of Sioux Falls registered voters to put this measure to a vote [SDCL 9-20-1]. According to City Clerk Thomas M. Greco’s count on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the city has 121,768 registered voters (97,881 in Minnehaha County, 23,887 south of 57th Street in Lincoln County, where folks would be less likely to smell the new pig plant). Thus, 6,089 Sioux Falls voters must sign this petition to call a vote. Peterson and friends can collect signatures for as long as they want, but any signatures collected more than six months prior to the date the signed petition is filed will not count [SDCL 9-20-2].