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Smithfield Foods Silent on Potential Sioux Falls Slaughterhouse Ban

Smithfield Foods says it has no position on the slaughterhouse ban that some well-to-do Sioux Falls residents have placed on the city’s November ballot in an attempt to prevent Wholestone Farms from building a competing wiener factory in northeast Sioux Falls:

Smithfield Foods, owners and operators of the biggest hog processing plant in Sioux Falls, told KELOLAND News the company has no position on the slaughterhouse ordinance voters are weighing in on.

Jim Monroe, Smithfield Foods’ vice president of corporate affairs, said the company has no plans to build a new facility in Sioux Falls [Eric Mayer, “Smithfield Foods: No Position on Slaughterhouse Ban,” KELO-TV, 2022.10.10].

As long as Smithfield does not plan to build a new facility away from its current location northeast of the Falls, the slaughterhouse moratorium, if enacted, would not affect Smithfield’s Sioux Falls operation directly. And while I find agnosticism in general cowardly and dishonest, Smithfield likely gains nothing from taking a position on this municipal initiative. Smithfield’s logical position should be Yes, but the company cannot give any reasons for a Yes that would reflect well on the company. Saying “Vote Yes to ban new slaughterhouses in town because we don’t want the competition” would make Smithfield look like greedy corporate monopolists. Saying “Vote Yes because more slaughterhouses in city limits mean more pollution” would indict Smithfield’s own stinky slaughtering.

And with Governor Kristi Noem and the SDGOP spin machine she subsidizes opposing the initiative, Smithfield would only lose political capital by urging a Yes vote in a fight it doesn’t need to have.

Besides, maybe Smithfield doesn’t really care. Maybe Smithfield is planning to follow Tyson corporate out the door with a surprise relocation of operations from South Dakota to better business climes.

13 Comments

  1. jim 2022-10-11

    There is still a lot that we don’t know about these slaughterhouses.

    Why is there no regulation of their odors? How do they decide when to release odors? Does it cost them a lot more when they suppress those odors?

    Do they discharge into the river? What and how much?

  2. jim 2022-10-11

    But there is also a lot I don’t want to know about slaughterhouses. Just seeing live animals going in one end of the building and cold packages leaving the other is more than enough. I don’t need a tour of the area in-between.

    I grew up on a farm where occasionally we had to butcher an animal, but it still disturbs me to see it done so methodically and in such massive numbers.

  3. P. Aitch 2022-10-11

    California to rule soon on constitutionality of mother hog cruelty law that covers hogs slaughtered anywhere and sold in California.
    – The pork industry has defended the size of the cages used at pig farms as humane and necessary for animal safety. Animal rights groups have said some pork producers confine mother pigs in cages so small the animals cannot turn around for most of their lives.

    https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/pork-industry-takes-fight-over-california-law-us-supreme-court-2022-10-10/

  4. jim 2022-10-11

    Thanks, Jay. Of course that permit is highly technical. At least it is to me. If there have been articles explaining it in layman terms, I have not seen them.

    Can you tell us how many companies have these permits in Sioux Falls?

  5. Donald Pay 2022-10-11

    Odor control has been an issue at these plants for a long time. Generally there are mixes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) coming out of various parts of the plant. There are ways to limit, if not eliminate, odors, but when we tried to get some odor control measures for the first proposed large hog farm (the one in Hughes County in the 1980s), and in the first General Permit for CAFOs, the industry opposed it and DENR didn’t want to study it. I notice the science and technology for odor control has advanced considerably since the 1980s. Here is one interesting approach used in Europe:

    https://www.desotec.com/en/carbonology/carbonology-cases/odour-removal-slaughterhouses

  6. Jay Gilbertson 2022-10-11

    According to the SD DANR database, there are ten (10) discharge permits for entities based out the city of Sioux Falls – Permit # SD0000051, L.G. EVERIST, INC.; SD0028627, LUMBER EXCHANGE, LLC C/O LLOYD COMPANIES; SD0000264, NORTHERN STATES POWER – ANGUS ANSON GENERATING PLANT; SDG820427, SD STATE PENITENTIARY WEST FARM; SD0028631; SIOUX FALLS VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM; SDG860021, SIOUX FALLS WTP; SD0022128, SIOUX FALLS, CITY OF; SDL022128, SIOUX FALLS, CITY OF (BIOSOLIDS); SD0000078, SMITHFIELD FOODS; and SD0000299; USGS – EROS DATA CENTER.

  7. jim 2022-10-11

    A Judge just put the brakes on Wholestone’s “custom slaughterhouse”. And it looks like the city tried to help them advance their fake butcher shop by giving final approval a few days ago. Wow.

    Sioux Falls needs to have a housecleaning if our elected officials think they can stab us in the back like that. Weeks before we vote, they tried to pull the rug out from under us.

    Thanks to the judge, they’ve been stopped. At least for now.

  8. Mark Anderson 2022-10-11

    If you like bacon you must except the smell. It’s only the poor community’s who work and live in the odor anyway. Just move your golf course. It will all be fine.

  9. grudznick 2022-10-12

    Mr. Anderson is mostly right, except for his spelling.

  10. David Fulredy 2022-10-21

    The use of the term “slaughterhouse” in this initiative should be criminal. This is a modern pork processing plant costing more the $500 million dollars. This is, in my opinion, a not-in-my-backyard liberal elitist effort who don’t care about food prices, farmers, employment opportunities, non-residential property tax base which funds schools or red-blooded Americans!

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-22

    “Criminal”? Really, David? The current facility built to circumvent the vote is about the size of a house (perhaps smaller than Jeff Broin’s house), and animals will be slaughtered within. “Slaughterhouse” reasonably describes the facility.

    “Liberal”? The petition drive leader is the son of Republican legislators (Bill former, Sue current). This intiative did not spring forth from any liberal foment.

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