May 5, 2020 - Dear Editor,
Say NO to Mr. Long's slaughterhouse and meat packing plant proposition.
I read Supervisor Long's piece in the Mariposa Gazette (April, 30) about his idea for a new meat packing plant in Mariposa and I have several thoughts on the concept. Beef market prices have dropped 46% since 2015 so I can understand the Long family's desire to find new, direct outlets for one of their products (see: https://markets.businessinsider.com/commodities/live-cattle-price). In my opinion, Mr. Long sadly lowered the bar of the conversation by inserting a scare tactic in his mentioning of COVID19 and the broken supply chain markets now temporarily face. He promoted his idea using words such as "local meats", "protein" and "jobs growth". Of course, that sounds pretty good, but then think about the logistics of such a processing plant.
Let's be clear about this, a meat packaging plant requires a slaughterhouse. Including a slaughterhouse to the complete process is the only viable way to a financially sound investment. What I surmised in reading Mr. Long's proposal is 'why ship locally grazed and raised live animals out of the area only to come back as packaged meats when we can do it all here.' That means a slaughterhouse.
A slaughterhouse requires enormous amounts of fresh water while producing an extraordinary amount of bacteria-laced wastewater. How will this wastewater be treated so that it does not leach into our groundwater or streams? What will be done with the piles and piles of skulls, bones, tendons and animal entrails? What is the plan for the hundreds of barrels of animal blood?
Will the costs of building a plant that meets all environmental, state and federal laws be so high that the costs of enjoying local meats will nullify the original concept and eventually cause the business to fail and then close? A slaughterhouse in beautiful Mariposa will smell for miles, harm housing and property values, create friction between neighbors anywhere close to the location of this proposed meat packing plant and possibly damage the county's biggest asset, tourism.
I clearly remember the gripes from citizens and a few government leaders after the county spent roughly $50,000.00 for data and market research to determine the best economic future for Mariposa County. The answer was obvious to all of us: "a tourism and retirement community". This was plainly obvious to so many of the gripers before spending that 50k, but I suppose the county needed to make it official.
I cannot think of any industry more contrary to the setting of a beautiful tourist and retirement community that borders a jewel of the National Park System than a slaughterhouse and meat packaging plant.
Questions to ask ourselves:
Where will the fresh water come from?
How will the dangerous wastewater be treated?
How will animal blood, entrails, bones, tendons and other non-edible parts be stored and disposed of?
For how many miles around the plant will the smell of rotting flesh be in the air?
Will the costs outweigh the financial benefit simply to have local meats?
Will out of the area animals have to be brought in for slaughter to save the new Mariposa County Meats and Protein company plant from failing?
Will public money to be used to partially fund a private for profit business?
Will the slaughterhouse and packaging plant be located on the Long Ranch?
There are too many questions to answer before beginning to draw out plans for a meat processing plant such as this. Meat processors belong in the flat-lands near feedlots, trucking and large refrigeration facilities. Not in scenic Mariposa. I am horrified by the thought.
Thank you for your considerations.
Letter to the Editor - Say NO to Mariposa County Supervisor Long's Slaughterhouse and Meat Packing Plant Proposition
May 5, 2020 - Dear Editor,