Proposed Slaughter House Draws Controversy

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There has been much debate over a proposed pig slaughter house on the west side of Rockford.

During the town meeting it was no different. Many residents were in attendance so they could voice their opinion. Though the vast majority of people seemed to not want the slaughter house anywhere near their neighborhood, that was not the only opinion represented.

County Board Rep. Pearl Hawks says, "We have a lot of people who need jobs, that’s what this would have brought. They would have been union jobs with benefits"

Those against the idea agree that the area is in need of new job opportunities but that a slaughter house is not the answer. They claim that there is a high turnover of employees due to undesirable work. Citizens also fear that property values will decrease near the site.

"The proposed site is near the intersection of Montague and Bypass 20. Though job opportunities would come hand in hand with the plant, many people believe it’s too close to residential areas"

Scott Suma, a 7th grade teacher, adds, "We have low income students; not all low income, but to build a slaughter house so close to the school, it would be a complete insult to those students."

One of the biggest concerns voiced at the meeting was that the people first of all didn't now who to turn to in order to act on the matter. Secondly, the crowd was frustrated that elected official invited to attend the meeting didn’t show up.

Chuck Jefferson 67th District State Rep., says, "I am disappointed that the leaders weren’t there. These people are voting citizens; the least they could do is have had the respect and courtesy to attend the meeting."

Near the end of the meeting Pearl Hawks dropped a bomb on the crowd when she said that the slaughter house has decided to go elsewhere. Though it is not confirmed, Hawks believes there will be no pigs on the west side of Rockford any time soon.

"I talked to a fellow board member who talked to him, and he said they are not coming to Rockford."